College basketball coaching changes: Grading the best and worst hires from 2018 after a full recruiting cycle

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Think back to four years ago. April 2018. At the start of that month, Villanova beat Michigan to win the national title, its second in three years. Bigger picture: We were still almost two years away from being foisted into this horrendous pandemic.  “Avengers: Infinity War” — the first of […]

Think back to four years ago. April 2018. At the start of that month, Villanova beat Michigan to win the national title, its second in three years. Bigger picture: We were still almost two years away from being foisted into this horrendous pandemic. 

“Avengers: Infinity War” — the first of the two-part Marvel epic, a movie that grossed $2.048 billion globally — was about to be released. “The Americans,” one of the best TV shows of the 2010s, was a few episodes from its series finale. Four years ago this week, Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” was the best-selling album, while Drake’s “God’s Plan” was atop the Billboard 100 singles chart. TikTok, the most downloaded app in the the world the past two-plus years, was not yet available in the United States. 

April 2018 seems like longer than four years ago in some ways, right? And yet, here’s something that might make it seem relatively recent. In college basketball, the big hires were Chris Mack to Louisville, Penny Hardaway to Memphis, Dan Hurley to UConn and Jeff Capel to Pitt. Yeah: it’s already been that long. 

Welcome to my annual grade-the-hires-four-years-after piece. We’ve published it each April since 2017. As tempting as it is to immediately grade new faces in new places, the fairest way to do this is to give coaches some time to actually, you know, build a program, recruit players, establish a track record, moan about NIL, gripe off the record about the transfer portal. You know, the crucial stuff. They’re now more than 100 games in, which is an appropriate amount of data.  

(If you’d like to see previous report cards, here are my four-years-after evaluations from the hirings in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 here.) Now, to this year’s batch … which is actually 2018’s batch. You get it. Here’s a review on the most prominent hiring moves from 2018.

Grading 2018’s notable coaching hires

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