Will Marshall Basketball Successfully Pursue Mike D'Antoni?

By Demario Phipps-Smith
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN, Marshall Basketball has reached out to Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni about an opportunity to coach his alma mater.

This isn’t the first time Marshall has courted with D’Antoni as the school has gauged his interest in the program whenever it has an opening. This season, the offensive guru hasn’t been very successful with a talent-stripped Lakers team. The Lake Show is currently 1.5 games behind the Sacramento Kings and could quite possibly be the worst team in Los Angeles.

ESPN’s sources say D’Antoni is unlikely to make the transition to college at this point. He has only coached in the NBA and will remain a prized coach even if he is let go by the Lakers.

D’Antoni’s success in the professional league has been marginal at best, so it remains to be seen if he can recruit the talent necessary to compete nationally at Marshall. He also lacks the personality to demand the optimum discipline and accountability from his players. High-profile players and coaches rarely mix well unless the coach is the unquestioned point of authority.

If D’Antoni is unable to recruit certain types of players to Marshall, he will not have remotely the type of success he’s having in the pros. College basketball is about defense because gifted scorers come at a premium. It would be difficult for D’Antoni to coach a college team to score 100 points a game — at Marshall at least.

While it is enticing to consider Marshall’s prospects if he signs there, it is unlikely for D’Antoni to transfer to the college ranks. Things may not work out in L.A., but he will see another well-paying job elsewhere in the NBA.

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