Seth Greenberg was talking about Roy Williams retiring today on ESPN2. He said that some of these older blue blood coaches built their recruiting and roster on developing relationships, and the transfer portal/one and done for elite recruits had created a new reality that made building those relationships very difficult.
I thought that was way too simplistic a take on the portal. I think the difference is now the HC and assistants still need to develop good relationships with recruits, but also have to be able to rekindle old relationships and quickly build new ones when guys hit the transfer portal. That’s the new reality, and that is what Muss is doing so well.
And it gets easier for him, now that he has Smith, Tate and Notae to show as examples of how he makes transfers better.
Theoretically, I guess a coach could build his whole roster on transfers and never recruit a high school kid. I don’t know if anyone is brave enough to try that tactic but it could work in the right situation.
I think that two things will help Muss stay successful as others adapt: First, the Muss personality/social media savvy/basketball junkie package apparently goes over very well with high school guys and portal guys. Second, he now is building up the resume of taking transfers and developing them into pro prospects on a team that wins a lot of games and has fun doing it.
Been going on in the NBA for while now… big time free agent players taking their talent to a single team to win “7” championships. Muss has the template down and the system to blend it all together. Big things happening for Hog basketball.
There are so many good coaches out there who can do it. Don’t get too comfortable. As you said, Baylor is already doing it and this is going to spread like wildfire. There will be competition for top transfers just like top high school recruits. Watch the Bluebloods change their recruiting strategy too.
It has taken a few years, but Transfer Portal has changed the landscape. Muss won’t be able to be the only coach with the reputation of taking transfers.
Muss isn’t the only coach that can work the portal, that’s certainly true. With the explosion of players available, other coaches are learning how to work it, too.
But Muss has an advantage over most in his experience and contacts with the NBA. That’s where the best players (and even those who aren’t the best) aspire to be, so the fact that Muss has so much experience not only as a head coach there but as a coach in the D League really helps. It’s just a bonus that his father was a legendary NBA coach.
The fact that Muss can really break down a player’s game and show how he can fit at Arkansas is also a huge selling point. If you listened to the Hog Pod featuring Justin Smith, it was obvious that after he met with Muss, it completely changed his mind about Arkansas. He wasn’t seriously considering us before Muss talked all about his game and what he could do here. There may be a few other coaches who can go into the detail that Muss and his staff share with players, but I honestly doubt that many can. That gives Muss a huge advantage.
Success will still required to consistently win the portal wars. As long as Muss keeps winning at a high level, his recruiting skills, his NBA background and his ability to blend newcomers into top teams, Muss will rule the portals. I don’t think that you can recruit just high school players anymore that you can build a team solely with transfer portal players . He will obviously control the makeup of his teams and certainly will continue to recruit both high school and transfer players.
I listened to the Kelvin Sampson interview on Jim Rome a couple of days ago (maybe yesterday) . . . What struck me was how candid he was about his time in the pros. . . By my count, he spent 29 years in college and then 6 years as an assistant in the pros. . . He spoke about how lost he and how little he knew when he moved up to the pros and how much time it took for him to get up to speed. This is a final 4 coach saying this.
It makes sense and goes to explain a lot on why Muss is having so much success when he started coaching college. He has said that he uses pretty much the same playbook as the pacers. He talks about his expectations for the kids on learning a complicated playbook.
To go onto another note, Muss’s college teams have a pattern or starting games slowly and then finishing strong. I saw someone refer to it as overcoached. . . I can see if they put in a game plan for a specific team it taking a little bit to get the plan working right and by the end of the game have it flowing like it should be. . .
IMHO Muss has to get the right players, he has to choose the high IQ players, the hard work ethic players. The kids that will get in and learn that playbook, understand the complexities of the game. There are a lot of Justin Smiths out there that have the maturity to know what they want and the IQ but have never had the knowledge of the game and the understanding of *team.
Looking at Kenpom for the Razorbacks, they don’t excel in any one area, but they are one of the few teams that do EVERYTHING in the green, there isn’t a real weakness at all. Their overall defense is excellent.
This is going to be a fun ride, looking forward to it.
Please remember CEM was active in the portal while coaching at Nevada. It’s not new to him. He was one of the first coaches to successfully use the portal and is now the standard. He has a body of work at both Nevada and Arkansas to display to recruits/transfers. CEM was ahead of the “blue bloods” who are now playing catch up.
I think CEM uses the portal in a similar fashion the NBA uses the free agent scheme. Get immediate help and experience along with a few new recruits. May take a little more time to research and find the right players for his system in college, whereas teams pretty much know everything about NBA free agents available. But that’s what good college assistants are for, point the head coach in right direction.
Don’t have to worry about salary cap and contracts at the college level. Just grades and attitude mostly.
And skills. Muss is looking for people who fit into his model, who can play and guard multiple positions. Justin and Tate were obviously good fits. Vance, I think, he hoped would be a defense stretcher; that didn’t work out so well.