Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Duke Coaching Changes

For the benefit of the 4 readers of my blog who like college basketball….okay, just because I wanna write about it….Johnny Dawkins finally accepted a coaching job, taking over for Trent Johnson at Stanford. Dawkins has been Coach K’s top assistant coach at Duke for more than a decade and has turned down many head coaching jobs during that time. Stanford proved too difficult to turn down, and I certainly can’t blame him for that.

Dawkins will do well at Stanford. He’s had the ideal training for it because Duke and Stanford have similar academic requirements and tend to recruit out of the same pool of players. The big question is who replaces him on the Duke coaching staff. They’ve still got Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, both former Duke players, on the staff. The obvious choices are former Duke players Jason Williams, Chris Carrawell and Nate James

Jason Williams would be a great choice. He would replace Dawkins in more ways than one, both of them having very similar backgrounds. Both were great combo guards who won national player of the year awards, both were very high draft picks expected to become stars in the NBA, both had great starts to their pro careers and both had those careers ended early by injury. The only difference between them is that Williams tends to be more gregarious and has more charisma.

Carrawell and James would be good choices as well. Both are former Duke swingmen. It might be a good idea to have an assistant coach with a little size, which helps them work with the big men (Collins and Wojo are both small point guards; Wojo doesn’t even break 5’11”). But here’s an idea: how about Grant Hill? He may well retire at the end of this season after 14 years in the NBA and he’d be a great addition to the Duke bench. He would bring serious star power to recruiting.

Would he want to do it? I don’t know. He doesn’t need to ever work again, having earned something on the order of $150 million in the NBA, and I don’t know if he really wants to be a coach. But he’d make a great coach, I think. He thinks the game as well as he plays it physically and Duke would be very lucky if they can get him on the bench.