clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Mark Pope to Kentucky? John Stockton to Gonzaga? Hypothetical fits for big college basketball programs

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope looks at the BYU student section after defeating the Utah State Aggies 68-64 in the Beehive Classic at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.
BYU Cougars head coach Mark Pope looks at the BYU student section after defeating the Utah State Aggies 68-64 in the Beehive Classic at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.
Colter Peterson, Deseret News

It’s always pretty notable when a university hires an alum to coach one of its teams.

In a hypothetical exercise on Thursday, The Athletic’s Brian Hamilton explored which alum 25 different college basketball programs might hire to lead it should the job open, and a number of names with Utah ties came up.

Most notably, BYU Cougars head coach Mark Pope was Hamilton’s pick for the Kentucky Wildcats, and he threw Utah Jazz legend John Stockton’s name in as a possibility for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Hamilton noted that current Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey could be a possibility for the Wildcats, but then wrote, “The choice with more upside is Pope. He’s proving to be a dogged recruiter at BYU and he’s going to prioritize shooting at every position, which might be an absolute symphony to Big Blue Nation’s ears these days. His self-deprecating personality might play particularly well too, and help mitigate the insane amount of pressure placed on anyone in the job.”

For Gonzaga, Hamilton’s pick was ultimately current assistant coach Brian Michaelson, but he started his section on the Bulldogs by writing, “It is not the funnest choice of the bunch. John Stockton roaming the sideline would be something to behold.”

Elsewhere, Hamilton picked a number of former Jazz players to lead their alma maters. He pegged Earl Watson at UCLA, Jacque Vaughn at Kansas (both have had short stints as NBA head coaches) and Roger Powell (three games and two free throws for the Jazz in 2006) at Illinois. Hamilton also mentioned another former Jazzman, Dee Brown, as a possibility there before going with Powell.

Hamilton also floated first-year Jazz assistant coach Keyon Dooling as a possibility at Missouri, although he ultimately went with Kim English.