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St. John’s coaching search has turned ugly

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Rumors, accusations, and rejections have made this the worst hiring process of the off-season.

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Happy Thursday Nova Nation! Fans of the Villanova Wildcats have been calling Madison Square Garden their “home away from home” for years now. The program is 21-2 over the past five seasons in the Mecca of college basketball, giving them the best win percentage of any Big East team that’s played there in the last half decade.

Fun fact though, there’s another team to which Madison Square Garden actually is their home court: The St. John’s Red Storm. But given the current state of affairs, it’s easy to see why they wouldn’t be considered kings of their own castle. After a poorly handled departure by former St. John’s coach and legend Chris Mullin, St. John’s has conducted what may be the worst coaching search of the offseason. That’s saying something considering what UCLA went through less than a month ago.

The school first offered Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, who has ties through Duke with the current St. John’s Athletic Director, Mike Cragg. But Hurley turned down the offer. Then when Iona’s coach and former St. John’s player Tim Cluess seemed to be the clear frontrunner, he was passed over with an offer to Loyola-Chicago’s Porter Moser. That offer was also rejected.

Then things went from bad to worse as long time booster Mike Repole went off in a radio interview about his dissatisfaction with both the coaching search and the way the school was being run in general:

Since then, a cloud of rumors and rejections has hung over the search, as more and more coaches reportedly have been said to have zero interest in the position. While part of this has been somewhat entertaining from an outsider’s perspective, it’s a terrible look for the Big East. The issues clearly go beyond a coaching hire, but that will probably need to be the first thing addressed.

As for who they get, Tim Cluess appears to still be interested and would probably be the best move from a PR standpoint. Or they could just take the “burn it all to the ground” approach and bring Rick Pitino back to the Big East. Although to be fair, that’s more internet rumor than any serious consideration.

No matter what happens, I hope it happens fast. The team’s players are heading out the door through transfer or going pro, and the job looks less desirable with every passing day. This is going to be a complete program rebuild for whoever does take the job, and it’s not going to happen quickly.

In other “news”, Johnny Juzang will meet with Villanova this week, the Wildcats did reach out to former St. Joe’s player Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble about transferring, and a former member of Jay Wright’s staff is now an assistant at Cal. Enjoy!

Big East

St. John's booster Mike Repole blasts search, wants Hurley hire | New York Post
Mike Repole, a major booster and alumnus, went scorched earth on St. John’s administration as coaching search looms.

St. John's basketball coaching search is hurting the Big East | APP
Replacing Chris Mullin has turned into a full-blown circus and it's dragging the conference down.

Recruiting

Kentucky Wildcats Recruiting: Johnny Juzang to meet with UK and Villanova Basketball this week | A Sea Of Blue
The five-star recruit may be on the verge of a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

NBA Wildcats

Tyneeha Rivers is behind the Sixers’ diversity initiative and former Villanova star Mikal Bridges | The Inquirer
What hasn't Tyneeha Rivers done? She's raised a two-time national champion. She took night courses for 10 years to earn her college degree. She became a human-resources savant, so sharp at her job that she runs operations for not just the Sixers, but the Devils as well.

Phoenix Suns 2018-19 Season Recap : Mikal Bridges | Valley of the Suns
Mikal Bridges came to the Phoenix Suns and provided the franchise hope in an impressive season for the former number 10 overall pick.

Season in Review: Ryan Arcidiacono checks all the boxes in pleasantly surprising season | NBC Sports Chicago
Ryan Arcidiacono was supposed to be an emergency option off the bench for the Bulls. But injuries and his stellar shooting helped him carve out a significant role in 2018-19.

Villanova Adjacent

REPORT: Cal MBB hiring former Iowa Assistant Andrew Francis | California Golden Blogs
Another assistant

Louisville basketball: Lamarr Kimble could be Cards' unsung hero | Courier Journal
Lamarr Kimble describes himself as "built around winning," and the point guard will bring that competitiveness to Louisville as a graduate transfer. Villanova did reach out to Kimble the first day his name was in the transfer portal.