Schools Are Poking Around Reno To Lure Coach Musselman Away
Eric Musselman is a hot name in coaching searches, but will he really leave Nevada?
Reasons why I see Eric Musselman staying at Nevada
There has been a lot of speculation that Eric Musselman will leave Nevada this offseason and make the jump to another big-time college to further his career. When his future has mentioned the word when is always added as if it is a predetermined outcome. Well, good news Nevada fans I just do not see it.
Musselman has proven himself to be a good college coach, taking a Wolf Pack program that was struggling in the Mountain West to three straight NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
He took the Wolf Pack from a team that was 9-22 the year before he got there to 24-14 in his first year. After year one they have won at least a share of the Mountain West regular season title the last three years. This makes me a believer that he can build a program quickly.
It may seem natural to believe that Musselman’s next step is taking a high-major job in a Power Five conference. The problem in my eyes is when you look at his situation he is going to be hard-pressed to find a place as good as Nevada. Here are three reasons why I believe that Musselman stays.
The biggest issue with Musselman is he is not a good high school recruiter; his teams are mostly built through transfers. While building a team through the transfer market is fine, the problem is that most big-name schools do not operate that way. Most Power Five schools like to build with high school players while sprinkling an occasional transfer or two.
Take UCLA for example, Ben Howland got fired for not recruiting locally, imagine Musselman passing on some of the big-time talent in the city to take transfers. That would not sit well with the high school and AAU programs in Los Angeles. Add to the fact that Musselman does not go to watch high school games during the season and did not bring in one high-schooler on an official visit. That seems like a rough plan for a Power Five athletic director to swallow.
So far for 2019, Musselman has zero committed high school recruits, but his struggle in recruiting is not something new. Three years ago Musselman signed three players. Of that three one never made it on campus (Kenny Wooten), one transferred after his freshman year (Devearl Ramsey) and the other transferred after his sophomore year (Josh Hall). Two years ago he did not sign any high school players.
This time last year he signed three. Vincent Lee transferred at the semester break, KJ Hymes redshirted, and McDonalds All-American Jordan Brown played sparingly. The last one is the head-scratcher. It was a surprise to see Brown head to Nevada, but it seemed like he was going to get an opportunity to see some minutes on a championship contender.
Instead, Musselman has relegated Brown to ten minutes a game. Fair or not, this is not a good look for Musselman as McDonalds All-Americans go to star in college for a year before turning pro. The lack of exposure for Brown is something that will likely turn off future McDonalds All-Americans from selecting any Musselman led team. His bad track record recruiting high school players could be a red flag for any school thinking about making him a head coach.