When a head coaching job opens up in college basketball, the backs of every assistant coach suddenly become a little bit straighter.
Toiling in relative anonymity as just one of many smart-suited individuals on the bench—and not the one who gets to stand up and yell at referees—the assistants don't get much attention. But that all changes when head coaching vacancies start to pop up, as the second- and third-in-command guys become highly coveted for schools in need of a fresh face to run their team.
Most openings end up getting filled by other head coaches, though, leaving many of the top assistants waiting for the next coaching change for their chance.
We've identified eight assistants who, by this time next year, should be in charge of their own programs. Some have been head coaches before, but most would be going out on their own for the first time.