Monday, June 14, 2010

Collegiate Hoops: Top Ten Active College Basketball Coaches

The college game displays some of the best teams in the nation. But there are a lot of people that overlook how much the coaches mean to the success.

Just ask Michigan State right now. They're on the brink of losing Tom Izzo to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That could show just how much the guys on the sideline play a huge part.

These ten coaches are conceived as the most influential, smartest, toughest, and successful people on the sideline.

Ten isn't really enough but here are the top ten
coaches in the NCAA right now. (Hint: heading into next season.)

10. Jim Calhoun

Last year the Huskies' weren't horrible, but they were far from good.

When Calhoun left for health reasons; UConn's season left right with him.

Calhoun has won titles in the past before. He is known to play in the big games and just a few years back his Huskies' were on the brink of National Championship.

You can't tell me that he isn't still a good coach. He develops his players really well, and I can prove that by looking at the NBA talent he produces. Not to mention, his Huskies' always find a way to bounce back after poor seasons.

Calhoun has acquired a decent recruiting class that highlights one ESPNU top 100 recruit and the rest are all solid but graded above 90.

9. Bruce Pearl

I don't believe there is a more optimistic coach on this list than Bruce Pearl. He is a mastermind when you think of basketball.

Dating back to mid-season, the Volunteers lost four-of-five starters and had to play walk-ons against heavily favorite KU. However, with those walk-ons, Pearl was able to lead his team to victory.

Showing you he can out-coach the other coaches in this league.

He also established a new trend at Tennessee. It seems like every year, Pearl has been able to guide his Volunteers to the Elite Eight. Despite the loss to Tom Izzo's Spartans, Pearl is a great coach and no doubt his team will get back after it next season.

8. Roy Williams

After losing so much talent to the NBA, Roy Williams logged one of the worst seasons in his coaching career. Since this list is based on the top ten coaches heading into next season, Williams is here. However, if it was to rank the top coaches from last year, I don't think he would be mentioned.

However, Williams and newly acquired recruit Harrison Barnes are going to do whatever it takes to erase that memory.

Williams is still a great coach and now that he surrounded himself with elite talent, he'll be able to once again show how powerful his coaching skills are.

Something is telling me that Williams is going to have this team at the top of the ACC and competing with the title favorite Duke.

7. Jim Boeheim

Hanging on the theorem, "team-defense," Jim Boeheim has been nabbed as one of the better coaches in all of college basketball. He was able to turn an average roster with one superstar talent, into competitors and the Coach of the Year award was well deserved.

After being placed so far in the top 25 in the pre-season poll last year and still being able to reach the No. 1 ranking in the same season, says a lot about the coach.

He is much respected around the college basketball community and has his Syracuse Orange thinking potential next season.

Throughout his career as a coach, Boeheim has put the pieces together for a legendary resume. As a result, he may be in the basketball Hall of Fame one day. He is one of the coaches with the best winning percentage, out of all the other experienced coaches in the league.

6. Billy Donavan

Billy Donavan has always been a great coach. He has had the ability to cut down the nets twice with the same nucleus of players. He has a substantial say over most of his players, and that is a good thing for Florida fans.

This off-season, Donavan, made some moves to bolster his roster and now Florida is looking like a contender after the returnees, and recruits they landed.

He acquired two ESPNU top 100 players, one in which is a McDonalds All-American. Two other forwards and a point guard.

You can't tell me the Gators aren't restoring their image as a powerhouse in basketball.

With Donavan at the helm, I can envision a much better season on the way for the Gators.

5. John Calipari

I've met a lot of anti-John Calipari fans in my life. Most people hate the fact that he gets away with infractions, but I simply believe that everybody is jealous of his recruiting ability.

I don't care what you have to say, Calipari is the best recruiting coach in the NCAA. He has strung together some impressive freshman classes, and look at last season's team. That is arguably the best freshman class college basketball has ever seen.

Calipari has the ability to get to the tournament consistently and it isn't really a problem considering the talent he acquires in the off-season. One thing that is notable; John Calipari produces some of the finest guards. John Wall, Derrick Rose, and Tyreke Evans are all going to or already have impact the NBA.

4. Bill Self

After a terrible loss to the Northern Iowa Panthers, the Kansas Jayhawks have to come into next season and prove themselves. Bill Self has too as well.

Let's not forget Northern Iowa Head Coach Ben Jacobson, out-coached him in a cake-walk type game.

However, Bill Self is not known to hoist two back-to-back seasons where he let the fans down. The Jayhawks landed the No. 1 overall recruit in Josh Selby to possibly fill the shoes of Sherron Collins and the Morris twins has the job to fill Cole Aldrich's shoes in the post.

Bill Self has no problem with curbing players into aggressive and great players. In the 2008 season, the team that one that was filled with juniors and seniors that all wanted to win a championship. Put another coach at KU and I don't believe those players progress the way they do.

He always has powerful recruiting classes and great basketball players. That's always a plus when you're coaching.

3. Frank Martin

I don't care what many have to say about my Wildcats. Frank Martin was not there to keep Michael Beasley and Bill Walker around. He is not there now for recruiting reasons, but he is there to coach the Kansas State Wildcats.

Frank Martin has done a magnificent job with the Wildcats. Ensuing a season that his team came away with the most wins in school history, has a chance to once again break that record.

Look at the picture; now does that look like a coach to be messed with? Martin is live on the sideline, one of the more vocal coaches in the league, and he gets into his players. I remember he stated, "It's all about scoring one more point then your opponent." That helped and leaded the Cats' on to some milestones that haven't been achieved for decades.

Frank Martin has raised the Cats' from laughing stock to serious contenders. With the roster they have and Frank Martin on the sideline, Kansas State can be major players in this upcoming season.

2. Tom Izzo

Tom Izzo may just as well be a Cleveland Cavalier before this list has even lasted a few days. However, since he has made no commitment to the NBA, he is the second-best coach in college basketball.

Izzo is the best coach on this list when it comes to developing players. A stat you probably already know if you've read my other articles on Tom Izzo is that every player that has stayed all four-years under him has had the chance to compete in the Final Four.

That says a lot. Even considering the fact that, their best player Kalin Lucas went down during their second round game in the tournament, and they were still able to pull off an Elite Eight berth.

If Izzo decides to stay, he solidifies Michigan State as title contenders. Without Izzo? Not so much.

1. Mike Krzyzewski

Coming off a National Championship with a roster that could repeat, has Coach K at No. 1. Coach K has always been conceived as a top coach in the league, considering that he has the highest winning percentage of all active coaches.

He has been a consistent player in the NCAA tournament, not to mention his titles and Final Fours berths; all that he brought to the Duke fans.

With Coach K leading the Blue Devils next season, you have to think about the possibility of a repeat. He acquired superstar caliber player Kyrie Irving, and to play with him in the backcourt is Tyler Thornton. As long as Coach K sticks on the sideline at Duke, which I believe he will, they'll be NCAA ready, every year.

Written by DeAnte Mitchell, edits by Lauren Garrison


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