Recent speculation has connected Los Angeles Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni with the open head coaching position at Marshall. This could be a win-win for both sides. D’Antoni has not had much success since arriving with the Lakers. He has dealt with injuries, criticism and egos his entire time in Los Angeles. The Lakers have struggled with him at the helm, and need to go a different direction in terms of finding a new coach.
D’Antoni might actually be better suited to coach at the collegiate level. Several coaches have found more success in the college coaching ranks than they did as professional coaches, including John Calipari and Mike Montgomery. D’Antoni has had some positives in his professional coaching career, but has struggled recently at two high-profile jobs.
The biggest reason that D’Antoni will be a good college coach is that he employs a fun, up-tempo offense. He is able to get the best out of lesser players and allows them to be free. There is nothing extremely complicated, and he will have a plethora of guards and wings to choose from. He will not have to worry about playing small-ball, as there are few dominant big men at that level.
This style of play can bring excitement into a program, whether it is a smaller school trying to make the tournament, or a bigger school in need of new blood.
Another reason why he’ll succeed is that he will be able to recruit players to fit his style of play. He can find active big men who are willing to set picks and play without the ball. He can find perimeter players who want to run and fill the lanes on the break. His NBA experience gives him the credentials to prove to high school basketball players that they can thrive in his system.
Many young players are not very interested in playing defense, and would love to play for a coach who wants them to run and gun all game, showcasing their offensive talents. D’Antoni wants to play at a fast place, and can easily get college players to buy into that system. If he can find the proper athletes and a good point guard to run his offense, he can be very successful at the collegiate level.
Furthermore, if he left this offseason, it would mean less money for the Lakers to have to spend on a terminated coach, something that has become a problem in previous years.