There are plenty of tea leaves to read on the first day the Golden Gopher basketball coaching search. There isn’t much hard news, but the news that does exist is good.
We’ll start with what we know, and that is the Josh Pastner will not be coaching the Golden Gophers or anyone other than Memphis. He confirmed that he is restructuring his contract and has no intention of leaving Memphis. Pastner was never a legitimate candidate to come to a university still recovering from another slick talker and over-rated recruited, right Tim Brewster? Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins would not have been happy either, considering they chose not to play for Memphis. If the coaching search went south though, Pastner’s name might have popped up, if solely to make a splash with the next hire.
Now, for some speculation…
Chris Collins, current Duke assistant and future Northwestern coach, was linked to the Gophers today. The Collins camp has leaked that the Gophers are allegedly interested. However, this has everything to do with Collins getting as much from Northwestern as possible, and nothing to do with Minnesota. By playing hard to get, or creating the impression that Northwestern has some competitors, Collins may be able to extract extra money or additional years from Northwestern. He has been well trained by Coach K, who secured a lifetime contract with Duke after feigning interest in an NBA career every off-season.
Shaka Smart still appears to be the number one target for Norwood Teague, who has undoubtedly mentioned to Smart that he would still be an obscure assistant coach if not for Teague. Reports did surface today that VCU, as they do every year, has started scrambling to keep their coach. Some have interpreted this to mean that Smart won’t be leaving. All it really means is that Smart has been contacted by someone, likely the Gophers and UCLA. There is absolutely no reason that VCU would let Shaka Smart go without a fight, and Smart would need a new last name if he did not at least listen to VCU’s offer.
Don’t expect to hear anything about other candidates until Friday or Saturday. Buzz Williams, Gregg Marshall, and Andy Enfield are coaching in the Sweet 16, and have actual coaching to think about the next few days.