Bumped - P
The latest rumors in USC's ongoing coaching search have been swirling around Florida Gulf Coast Coach Andy Enfield, and the early reactions from the hardcore SC Hoops fans over at the USC Hoops message board have been lukewarm at best. Poster "omalley" writes this unflttering remark, "hopefully Haden is just gauging his interest as a 4th or 5th option." While "NathanJessup" chimes in with, " steve lavin (sic) without the resume". And while their comments have some merit, Enfield is relatively young and unproven, they don't account for the major positives he brings to the table.
First off, the two major negatives: 1. FGCU's inexplicable losses and 2. No head coaching experience at a "high major" program. There's no really defending some of Enfield's losses this past season, especially those against the likes of Lipscomb and Maine. The second drawback I don't really buy though, in my mind a winner is a winner and a lack of experience at a "major conference" level is not an indicator of future failure, plus he has 5 years of experience as an assistant at Florida State.
The other criticism is that Enfield lacks west coast recruiting ties, but I think that remains to be seen. During his time at FSU the Seminoles successfully recruiting two 5 star California natives:
Chris Singleton (whoops, I guess Singleton isn't from CA, apparently my memory isn't what it used to be - LS) and Michael Snaer. What, if anything, Enfield had to do with their recruitment is unknown, but there's no evidence to say he's completely unfamiliar with the West Coast. So for now we'll call the recruiting ties thing a wash
So with the negative out of the way, onto the positives:
1. Contrasting Styles
Kevin O'Neil's preferred tempo was snail-like; from 2010-2012 his teams were never ranked above 307th (out of 345 teams) in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted Tempo. Meanwhile, FGCU ranked 101st last year and 41st this year. A significant difference from the slow-it-down and grind-it-out philosophy of KO.
2. Year over year improvement
Between last year and this year 4 of the top five players in terms of minutes remained the same, yet Florida Gulf Coast improved from 15-17 to 26-11. Additionally, they jumped from 170th in Pomeroy's efficiency ranking to 89th by holding opponents to 8.9 points per 100 possessions fewer than last year while maintaining the same level of offense and tempo. The bottom line is that he took the same players and made them better, good enough in fact to notch wins over the likes of Georgetown and Miami.
3. A proven player and a proven teacher
Enfield is the all time leading scorer for Johns Hopkins University and a Division III All American, and he's translated his success as a player into being a great teacher. Enfield worked for four years as a shooting coach for the Bucks and Celtics in the NBA and parlayed that success into a multi-million dollar business in shooting instruction. Enfield knows what it takes to be a great player, but more importantly he knows how to teach athletes to become great.
4. He would hit the ground running
KO's recruting has left the cupboard pretty bare save for Byron Wesley and a handful of transfers. SC has alreadylost on 4 star former commit Kendall Harris and absolutely needs to keep Roschon Prince and recruit this years class well. Let's be real, is there a bigger story from this tournament than Dunk City? Players nationwide have watched his team throwing lobs to each other and chanting their coaches name. Enfield brings this exposure along with his credibility as a former player and NBA assistant coach which would serve to speed up the rebuilding job.
So to wrap up, Enfield has some inexplicable losses and lacks high level experience. However he's a proven winner, demonstrated good coaching chops (in an admittedly small sample size), and could get the program rebuild at USC jump started. Maybe he doesn't have the name of a Buzz Williams or Jamie Dixon, but don't be dissappointed if Haden hires Andy Enfield, he brings a lot to the table.