David Gottschalk/The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

Eric Musselman at Arkansas and the State of the SEC

Jack Williams

So far, we are going to have four (4) new coaches to start the 2019-2020 season in the SEC. Arkansas fired Mike Anderson, who has coached the team for seven (7) seasons. Alabama fired their Avery Johnson after just four seasons. Texas A&M fired Billy Kennedy after seven (7) seasons with the team and Vanderbilt fired Bryce Drew after just three (3) seasons. That one was understandable.

Why were they fired?

Coach Mike Anderson

Coach Anderson wasn’t a bad coach at all. He was just a bad recruiter. He Coached in a major six basketball conference but was recruiting like he was coaching a mid-major team.

Out of thirteen scholarships C oach Anderson had seven (7) freshmen on the roster. The highest rating of the seven (7) were four stars, Isaiah Joe and Reggie Chaney. The remainder were three (3) stars and below. There was absolutely no depth on this team.

In his starting lineup were two (2) three star players from the previous season. One was a reserve player, Adrio Bailey who averaged only 14 minute in 2017-2018 and averaged 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. The other was Jalen Harris, who was redshirted in 2017-2018. The only dependable players were Freshmen Isaiah Joe, sophomore Daniel Gafford, and sophomore Mason Jones. Gafford is more than likely going pro after the season ends and Coach Eric Musselman is going to get some good quality play out of Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones next season. The majority of the others may be asked to transfer.

Coach Avery Johnson

Now as for Alabama’s Avery Johnson, statistics showed us that this wasn’t a good hire from the beginning. So far, Good to great NBA players statistically don’t make for good division 1 college basketball coaches. I was really rooting for his 2017-2018 team that had Collin Sexton, Braxton Key, Donte Hall, John Petty, and so on. D1coachcorner.com had this team picked to finish 2nd in the SEC that season. But instead Alabama finished in 9th place and in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Alabama played like they just had no structure at times. They were out of control. It felt like the NBA, where all plays run through the star player. Collin Sexton scored a lot but he also took a lot of bad shots.

Billy Kennedy

Billy Kennedy was fired for being inconsistent with getting Texas A&M to the NCAA Tournament. But he led the team to the sweet sixteen two (2) times in the last four (4) seasons. Now they are about to get a more consistent coach though, in Buzz Williams.

Coach Bryce Drew

Bryce Drew’s firing was self-explanatory. He spent two (2) seasons in a row in the basement of the SEC, which includes one (1) winless season.

Who they hired?

Eric Musselman to Arkansas

Eric Musselman is a good recruiter who has proven to be consistent in leading his team to the NCAA Tournament. Nevada dominated the Mountain West under his leadership. After Daniel Gafford leaves, Arkansas will have only 1 scholarship available. Arkansas needs depth in the front court. Musselman is going to have to clear up some scholarships to bring in a couple of immediate eligible players through transfer. Leaving Isaiah Joes, Mason Jones, Jalen Harris, Adrio Bailey, Reggie Chaney, and Desi Sills as your core pieces.

Nate Oats to Alabama

Alabama’s Nate Oats has immediately started on recruiting within. He convinced John Petty and the top scoring freshman guard, Kira Lewis Jr. to stay on board. He has recruited Raymond Hawkins, a big man from Findley prep to come over with him. Hawkins was originally slated to go to Buffalo to play for Nate Oates. This should be a very good Alabama team next season. The Nate Oats’ hiring was a good hire for Alabama.

Coach Buzz Williams to Texas A&M

Coach Buzz Williams is a very consistent coach. He’s from Texas and he was once an assistant coach at Texas A&m in 2004 until 2006 under Coach Billy Gillespi. This was one of the best hires of the post season. Coach Williams is really going to have this team competitive. We don’t know what his roster is going to look like in 2019-2020 but he should have four (4) scholarships remaining to fill. Texas A&M is going to need a backup point guard - some better guards, period. Texas A&M ranked 304th in the nation and 11th in the SEC this season in assist to turnover ratio.

Coach Jerry Stackhouse to Vanderbilt

For a guy who has never had to recruit players to a team, first time division head coach, Jerry Stackhouse, is going to have a lot of roster to fill. He should have six scholarship players returning next season. Freshman Aaron Nesmith, sophomores Max Evans, Saben Lee, Matthew Moyer and Ejike Obinna and junior Clevon Brown should all return next season.

What was Vanderbilt thinking with this hire? The trend around the SEC for new hires are coaches who not only has division 1 coaching experience but also has experience winning in division 1 college basketball. But Vanderbilt went out and hire a coach who knows absolutely nothing about running a division 1 college basketball team. It’s going to be tough for Vanderbilt in the SEC this coming season.

Overall, the SEC has just gotten that much stronger. There are a lot of good coaches in this league. It is going to be interesting to see how competitive this conference is next season.

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