Ready for the Next Level: 10 College Coaches Ready for the NBA
The coaching carousel in the NBA has already started it's yearly spin.
Chicago Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro, Philadelphia 76ers coach Eddie Jordan, and Los Angeles Clippers Interim coach Kim Hughes were the first three to get the ax this offseason, and I am sure there will be plenty more to come.
Normally the next in line for an NBA head coaching position comes from inside of the NBA, but every so often a team will take a chance on a proven college coach.
Not many college coaches make the transition to the NBA smoothly; just ask Rick Pitino, who's tenure in Boston was rocky to say the least.
Others decide to head back to college before their first day on the job. How were those five days as head coach of the Orlando Magic Billy Donovan?
So what exactly does it take to make a college coach ready for the next level?
And who are 10 guys that I feel are ready for the job?
Let's take a look...
10. Billy Donovan, Florida
After one short stint in the NBA, Billy Donovan is ready to go back.
After making one of the shortest tenures as a head coach in the NBA, Donovan flocked back to the safety and security of the University of Florida.
If you take away that little incident, Donovan is a perfect fit for any NBA team.
He has already coached a solid group of players into the NBA, boasts a solid 366-158 NCAA Division I coaching record, and has won two NCAA championships.
If the NBA were to come knocking, I'm sure Donovan wouldn't turn them down again.
9. John Beilein, Michigan
John Beilein makes an interesting appearance on this list.
His tenure at Michigan has not gone as well as he hoped since he jumped ship from West Virginia, yet he still has the respect and support of the Michigan program.
Beilein has an uncanny ability to relate to all types of players, and has been able to make a lot out of nothing in Michigan.
His career 522-327 record shows that he is a winner, and heading up to the next level might just change his luck.
8. Thad Matta, Ohio State
If Thad Matta is No. 8 on this list, you know there have to be some good ones coming up.
Matta boasts a 258-85 overall coaching record, and has turned Ohio State University into a football AND basketball school.
Matta already works for an organization that rivals many NBA organizations, and his ability to deal with high profile recruits and their futures make him an ideal candidate
It is not yet known whether or not Matta would consider leaving the friendly college ranks of THE Ohio State University, but at the age of 42, his best coaching years are ahead of him.
7. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Right now half of the nation is screaming at me. How can Boeheim be this low on the list?
The lifetime Syracuse coach, just like a couple of his followers on this list, would normally be much higher, but their allegiance to their college programs keep them from the top.
Coach Boeheim would gain the respect of NBA players from the minute that he stepped foot in the building. But at the age of 65, would he be willing to deal with the baggage?
Chances are that he would rather stay in Syracuse where he is basically a "God," but I'm sure if he wanted a job, NBA teams would be ready with one for him.
His 829-291 record and 74 tournament games would make him the perfect leader for any NBA team.
6. Bob Huggins, West Virginia
How could any NBA team not want a little "Huggie" on their team.
Bob Huggins is passionate, he is intelligent, and his players love him.
If you didn't see the tournament game in which he slumped over his injured player to comfort him after his season ending injury, then shame on you.
Huggins is the type of guy that any athlete would play their heart out for, but the question is: would he go?
Huggins has a 616-221 overall career record, and has coached in 44 tournament games.
5. Roy Williams, North Carolina
Two NCAA championships: check.
Seven final four experiences: check.
A 55-18 overall tournament record: check.
Winning is in Roy Williams' blood, and the University of North Carolina coach would have his choice of the NBA jobs if he decided to make his leap to the next level.
Williams isn't the type to jump ship unless his "dream job" comes available. Which is just what happened when he left Kansas for UNC.
So unless he suddenly has a dream of becoming the head coach of Derrick Rose and the Bulls, I don't see him and his 611-154 record leaving UNC any time soon.
4. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Normally Coach K would be at the top of this list, but it is being reported he turned down $15 million to coach the New Jersey Nets next season.
Turning down money like that to coach at the next level screams I'M NOT LEAVING UNLESS I GET TO COACH LeBRON!
Well, maybe he would settle for Melo, D-Wade, or any of the other members of the Gold Medal team he coached, but you get my drift.
Coach K is the center of the college basketball landscape.
His recruits quiver at his every word, and take in every last drop of his basketball knowledge.
Unless he has a strong desire to become a champion at the NBA level, he will stay at Duke.
An 868-279 career record with an astonishing 77-22 record in the NCAA tourney would elevate him to "must have" if he decided to go.
3. Bill Self, Kansas
Poor Bill Self, he just can't seem to catch a break.
After leading KU to another amazing regular season, they get upset early in the NCAA tournament.
And if that wasn't enough, he can't even make it to No. 1 on my list!
If any one of the coaches on this list needs a change of scenery it is Bill Self.
No offense to Kansas fans, but Self needs to get out of there before he becomes labeled as the "guy who couldn't conquer the NCAA tournament more than once."
I think the time is now for Bill Self to take his 409-148 record to the NBA to see if he can coach all of those NBA prospects he sent there.
2. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
I would like to start this off by saying I am a huge fan of Tom Izzo staying in Michigan State.
Izzo is great for Michigan State, he is great for college basketball, and he is great for the players that come to him.
With that said, he should be one of two prime candidates that are ready to make the leap to the NBA.
Izzo, at the age of 55, will already go down as one of the greatest college coaches of all time.
No matter what his Michigan State teams do in the regular season and conference tournament, you can expect them to go deep in the NCAA tournament.
The reason for that is Tom Izzo.
His supreme coaching abilities and ability to lead his teams into big games are a scarce commodity in the NBA coaching community these days.
Personally, I would like him to just head one state south and coach LeBron and the Cavaliers.
Tom Izzo wouldn't have allowed the Celtics to win after beating them by 29 two nights before.
1) John Calipari-Kentucky
Drum roll please...and No. 1 is...John Calipari!
Okay, Okay, I know he doesn't have the most wins, and he has zero NCAA championships, and he JUST left Memphis to coach at Kentucky, but hear me out.
Calipari is destined for the NBA.
His ability to prepare young athletes for the NBA rivals every one of the top coaches in college basketball history.
In just one season at Memphis he helped mature Derrick Rose enough for the NBA game.
Tyreke Evans just posted 20-5-5, joining an elite club of only four other rookies to do so on his way to winning NBA Rookie of the Year.
Calipari has a knack for getting the most out of his players, even if it doesn't mean having the deepest team to win an NCAA Championship.
Calipari's coaching abilities with one and done freshman is unbelievable, and it makes me wonder what he could do with 82 games and a team full of guys who would return.
Calipari will move to the NBA within the next five years, and may just be the next in line of the NBA's coaching elite.