When Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby was doing his due diligence in checking out the background of various coaching candidates, he phoned Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski about Blue Devils assistant Johnny Dawkins.
Krzyzewski leveled with Bowlsby, saying he believed Dawkins was his heir apparent in Durham.
That did not deter Bowlsby. Earlier this week, the AD hired Dawkins as the replacement for Trent Johnson, who left Stanford to go to Louisiana State.
Dawkins was the pick over Stanford assistant and former Idaho State head coach Doug Oliver and Portland coach Eric Reveno. Bowlsby was reportedly turned down by Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt, Southern Illinois’ Chris Lowery and Davidson’s Bob McKillop.
Even though Dawkins, who was also an All-America guard under Krzyzewksi at Duke, could eventually be heading back to his alma mater, Stanford gave him a six-year contract.
“His credentials as a player combined with his coaching experience gained mentoring under a Hall of Fame coach at a university such as Duke make him a perfect fit for Stanford,” Bowlsby said.
Dawkins has never been a head coach after working under Krzyzewski for 11 seasons and insists that he did not take the Stanford job to help polish his resume for the day the Duke job opens.
“No one can predict the future,” Dawkins said at his introductory press conference. “Who will succeed Coach K? Nobody knows. I didn’t look at this as a step to take the Duke job.”
Like Duke, Stanford has high academic standards. However, Stanford has had just six McDonald’s High School All-Americans in its program’s history. Two of those, sophomore twins Brook and Robin Lopez, have declared for the NBA draft. Meanwhile, Duke has had 45, including eight on last season’s roster.
“I think you can recruit that caliber player at Stanford,” Dawkins said.
Tyler Hansbrough Stays
North Carolina’s top player has decided to return to the Tar Heels for the 2008-09 season but three others declared for the NBA draft, though they did not hire agents, which leaves the door open for them to go back to Chapel Hill.
Forward Tyler Hansbrough, the consensus national Player of the Year, will return for his senior season after averaging 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds in leading North Carolina to the Final Four. Hansbrough finished in the top 100 country in the country in three Pomeroy statistics: offensive rating (20th, 125.8), free throw rate (43rd, 71.1) and offensive rebounding percentage (56th, 13.0).
Meanwhile, junior forward Danny Green and sophomore guards Wayne Ellingston and Ty Lawson have decided to test the professional waters. If they do not return, that would leave junior guard Marcus Ginyard as the only returning starter for North Carolina beside Hansbrough.
“I love playing at North Carolina and still have big dreams to realize here, including graduating,” Hansbrough said in a prepared statement. “Of course I look forward to playing in the NBA some day but not next year.”
Ben Hansbrough Moves
Ben Hansbrough, younger brother of Tyler, has decided to transfer from Mississippi State to Notre Dame. The guard will have two years of eligibility remaining but must sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules.
Hansbrough averaged 10.5 points a game last season in helping the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament. Like Mississippi State, Notre Dame advanced to the second round of the NCAAs.
"It's just so exciting," Hansbrough told the South Bend Tribune. “I can't get wait to get there with a great bunch of guys. I'm thrilled to be a part of what's going on there.”
Old Spice Classic Field
The field has been announced for the Old Spice Classic, which will be played Nov. 28-30 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Five of the eight teams participated in the NCAA Tournament last season: Georgetown, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Siena and Tennessee. Meanwhile, Maryland and Oklahoma State played in the NIT.
Wichita State is the only school in the eight-team field that did not make the postseason.
John Perrotto is an author of Basketball Prospectus.
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