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Stanford hits a home run

Posted by Jeff Nusser on April 26, 2008

If you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor, Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby really did hit the ball out of the park with his hire of Duke assistant Johnny Dawkins, who is reported to be Trent Johnson’s successor. This is the guy who’s been Mike Kzyzewski’s top assistant for 11 years, most of that spent as his top recruiter at a university whose admissions standards are similar to Stanford’s.

Of course, you never really know how a lifetime assistant is going to do as the head guy — hellloooooo, Paul Graham! — but I think this is a great hire. I’ve often wondered why Dawkins has never gotten a shot as a head man, and the thought has been that he was just patiently waiting for the right opportunity. He elected not to go the Jeff Capel route, assisting Coach K for a few years then parlaying a few years at a small college (VCU) into a bigger job (Oklahoma).

It looks like that patience has been rewarded. He’s learned from the best, and he won’t get a better fit than this.

And I stand by what I wrote Thursday: Bowlsby will end up looking like the smart guy in all of this.

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7 Responses to “Stanford hits a home run”

  1. mk92 said

    I agree that this is a great hire, but don’t kid yourself — the admissions standards for athletes at Duke are nowhere close to the admissions standards for athletes at Stanford. Of the Top 100 recruits in a given year, maybe 3-4 could get into Stanford. For Duke, it’s more like 15- 20. The difference in the average SAT score for Duke athletes vs. Stanford athletes is approximately 150-200 points.

  2. Nuss said

    I guess what I was trying to say was that Duke is about as close as you’re going to get to Stanford’s stringent requirements on the major Division I level. There’s no doubt about that. So if you’re not going to hire a guy who worked at Stanford, if you’re trying to get a guy who sort of understands, getting a guy who worked at Duke is about the next best thing.

  3. mk92 said

    i would agree with that…like I said I like the hire (and I’m a stanford fan). I just hope JD understands that a lot of the players he recruited for Duke won’t make it past the admissions office at Stanford.

  4. Is swearing allowed on this blog?

    In deference to the possibility that it isn’t, I’ll be kind and call this process a “cluster-intercourse.” It’s fairly probable that the team will lose its best recruit and only legitimate big man for next season, Miles Plumlee. (>50%, I’d say, and the only reason I’m as optimistic as I am is that Dawkins was involved in recruiting his brother Mason to Duke.) In the process, it will also quite possibly lose the chance to recruit his youngest brother (currently a freshman) who’s 6-8 and still growing.

    I don’t really have a problem with the guy they got, but the “search” was almost unbelievably incompetent. You don’t leave recruits hanging for three weeks right into the start of the spring signing period. You just don’t. Bowlsby was practically begging the ’08 class to jump ship.

    Dawkins is now in a fairly horrible position, in that the team next year is likely to suck (Plumlee making the difference between “respectibility” and “total collapse”) and he will have to pick up 5-6 players (pretty tall order) by next November so that the NEXT year’s team doesn’t also suck.

    I mean, no wonder no one wanted the job. Doesn’t pay market rates, total program rebuild required, just took massive credibility/prestige hit, severe recruiting restrictions. Ouch.

    On the bright side for y’all, at least Baynes can now look forward to scoring approx. 26 dunks in his two games against the Cardinal next year, what with the lack of anyone capable of guarding him.

  5. Coug1990 said

    I am not an expert on Duke basketball at all, but I have heard that Duke lowers its admission standards to get in some players while Stanford doesn’t. Like I said, I don’t know if it is true, just what I heard.

  6. MikeR said

    Interesting choice. I don’t know if I’d classify this as a “home run” yet, though.

    Capel and Brey are doing pretty well (although Brey looked woefully outmatched against Bennett in the tourney), but guys like Amaker, Snyder, Bender and Henderson have proven that being a Coach K disciple doesn’t automatically make you immune from being a subpar coach.

    On paper, I’d agree that Dawkins’ resume is quite impressive — we’ll see how that translates to a head job, in a new conference, on another coast.

  7. Nuss said

    The “home run” is given the circumstances, which CardinalPrecepts so artfully described.

    Obviously, who you work under is no guarantee of success, especially in college basketball. I would agree that Amaker has been vastly overrated and Henderson was a bust. But the rest of the guys have all fared pretty well. You mentioned Capel and Brey, but I’d say Snyder and Bender had their fair share of success, too. Snyder was awesome — four consecutive NCAA Tournaments — before becoming a victim of his own overzealousness (helllloooooo Kelvin Sampson!), and Bender did some good things at UW until he seriously whiffed on about two whole recruiting classes.

    But again, as CardinalPrecepts notes, he faces a gigantic uphill battle at Stanford. Here’s to hoping everyone gives him enough rope, because I’d be real surprised if he’s not successful.

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