Former Jayhawks who could follow Jerry Stackhouse & Juwan Howard's footsteps
So Vanderbilt recently hired former North Carolina great Jerry Stackhouse to become its head coach for the next six years and Michigan brought back former Fab Five member Juwan Howard to coach the Wolverines.
Those two moves — along with others like them throughout the years — got me thinking.
Which former Jayhawks might be in line to someday follow in Stackhouse and Howard’s shoes and take over a college program, whether that’s KU or somewhere else?
Obviously there are a dozen or so former KU players who actually are coaching in the college ranks today, so let’s get rid of them from this list. No Manning. No Turgeon. No Walters or Haase. No Ballard or Boschee. No Tad Boyle, C.B. McGrath, Brennan Bechard, Jeremy Case, Brad Witherspoon, Brady Morningstar.
We’re talking names that could come out of nowhere to surprise you. And there are several that immediately come to mind.
First, for full disclosure, it’s not as if Stackhouse and Howard are walking into coaching out of nowhere. In 2015, Stackhouse was hired by the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach and he later became the head coach of Toronto’s G League franchise for two seasons. This past season, he was back on an NBA bench as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Howard, too, has spent the past several years on an NBA bench, following up his 19-year, 8-team playing career with a six-year stint as an assistant coach with the Miami Heat.
Whether their move to college coaching works out or not, these guys have experience on the sideline and with running a program and there’s little doubt that they know basketball as well.
Both were absolute stars in college and enjoyed big time success in the NBA, as well.
So, back to the original question.
Which former Jayhawks not on that list above fit that last line of having been stars in college before going on to NBA success, as well?
Easy answers. Paul Pierce. Kirk Hinrich. Nick Collison.
All three bring some level of intrigue to the coaching equation, but Pierce seems to be headed toward a career in front of the camera as an NBA analyst so we’ll eliminate him.
Hinrich and Collison — there they go being mentioned as a duo again — are both spectacular options who have remained around basketball and worked in coaching capacities already.
Hinrich, who enjoyed a strong career with the Chicago Bulls has worked numerous camps and grew up the son of a coach.
Collison, who only recently retired from the Oklahoma City Thunder, spent his past few NBA seasons as a sort of bench player coach in OKC.
There’s little doubt that both former Jayhawks, should they so desire, could quickly find themselves on the path to becoming a head coach someday. The road to holding that job at KU is a bit longer and may never fully present itself. But those two are at the top of my list for potential former KU players not currently in coaching who could make the jump.
Others on the list include Landen Lucas, Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson and Devonte’ Graham.
As for a group of former KU players who more closely fit the Stackhouse/Howard mold, Brooklyn Nets assistant Jacque Vaughn and Santa Cruz Warriors head coach and assistant coach Aaron Miles and Mike Lee immediately come to mind.
Watch out for Miles in that group. The guy could be a coaching star someday.