Oregon State---David Grace will be sorely missed by the Oregon State Beaver basketball program. Grace is moving on from his position at Oregon State as an assistant to become an assistant at UCLA for newly named coach Steve Alford. It is a huge loss for the Beaver program. Grace was a tireless worker who had recruiting ties worldwide and also was a person who was extremely approachable and represented Oregon State University in the highest manner possible. Crawford's Court also learned this weekend, that at least seven D-1 programs were interested in hiring Grace away from Oregon State.
And one last salute to Coach Grace. Grace is the only D-1 college basketball assistant coach that has served 20 or more years in our military. He is not only a veteran of the military, but a veteran of Desert Storm. My hats off to you for your great service to our country Coach Grace.
Now for the replacement, which is going to be huge hire for Coach Craig Robinson. The Beavers are going to be a powerful team next year, my selection to win the regular season championship in the Pac-12 and also play in the NCAA tournament, something that has not happened at Oregon State since 1990.
Here is who I would hire if I was Craig Robinson and why. Three choices is appropriate.
1. Bob Cantu---After 12 years, Cantu will not be on on the sideline at USC next year. He should have been hired as the head coach, as the Trojans made a big mistake passing him over to take the permanent seat, after Cantu filled in when the Trojans released head coach Kevin O'Neill in Janurary. Cantu is the complete basketball mind, great Xs and Os, outstanding recruiter and well liked by so many in the basketball world. Coach Robinson pick up the phone and tell he how great Corvallis is and more important how he can be part of a championship team.
2. Andy McClouskey---McClouskey, who did such a wonderful job with his Mac's Message this past season in Crawford's Court, can also flat out coach. Most important here, he is a graduate of Oregon State, something every basketball staff should have, a graduate of the school. Coach Mac also can work his way around the country, as he has been a high level assistant coach on the D-1 level for over 20 years. McClouskey will not be retuning to Portland State in 2013-14, so it would be easy for Coach Robinson to move him right into his staff.
3. Gene Potter---Yes, that Gene Potter, whose four year run of winning a 6A state championship at Jesuit was derailed by West Linn this year in the state of Oregon. Gene Potter is the best high school coach in the state of Oregon and easily one of the top five of all time. Yes it would be an "outside the box" hire, but why not. It is shocking how many coaches call me and ask if I have a connection at Jesuit, as they have know every year there is going to be at least one to two D-1 players come out of the school. And with Potter's brother Ken, the football coach at Jesuit, the connection for Gene would remain forever.
Assistant coaches often go unnoticed and for sure under appreciated, but boy are they important. This is a huge choice for Coach Robinson not only because of the obvious, but it is also apparent that he will be at Oregon State for many more years to come.
Greg Crawford, CSNNW.com College Basketball Insider