Whew. What a crazy day across college basketball, and there’s still been no news out of Bloomington.
Our report around 1pm that Tom Crean was out of the running at Mizzou kicked off what’s become a fairly wild and crazy day across college basketball coaching world. Here’s what’s happened, what we know, a few rumors floating, where things might be going, and how all these things are tied together.
Cuonzo Martin is headed to Mizzou
Shortly after our earlier report that Crean would not be the next coach at Missouri, CQ confirmed a Jake Query of Fox Sports 97.5 report that Cuonzo Martin would likely accept the Tigers open position. Cal announced Martin’s resignation shortly thereafter, and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman confirmed that Martin was headed to Missouri on a 7-year-deal.
Cuonzo Martin's deal is 7 years and worth a little more than $21 million, source told ESPN. https://t.co/ffkX7oEjQp— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 15, 2017
Oh, and guess who’ll join him at for a homecoming at Missouri, it seems? The nation’s top recruit, Michael Porter, Jr., who once had Indiana among his finalists?
Cuonzo Martin will add Michael Porter Sr as an assistant, per sources. Michael Porter Jr did not sign an NLI.— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) March 15, 2017
Of course, why is the Porter family on the market? Perfect segue!
Lorenzo Romar is out at Washington
Around 6pm this afternoon, Goodman announced Romar and Washington were parting ways.
Washington has parted ways with Lorenzo Romar, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 15, 2017
That freed up Porter, Sr. to return to Missouri with Martin -- where he’d previously been a women’s assistant for six seasons.
Romar had a nearly unmatched run in college basketball of landing top recruits, and seemed set up in the future with the Brothers Porter. But after a tank of a season with possible top overall NBA Draft pick Markelle Fultz on the roster, UW finally had enough.
So that’s now two Pac-12 jobs — Washington and California — opening up this afternoon. But how about the other Big Ten job open closer to home?
There are rumors flying about Tony Bennett and Illinois, which our SB Nation sister site The Champaign Room has the details on here. Whether those or true or not is one story, but here’s what we do know: Illinois seems pretty danged serious about this hire -- and may break the bank to get it right.
Through a source, I was able to confirm this Paul Finebaum (what?) report that Cuonzo Martin was also a candidate at Illinois, and offered a comparable or slightly larger figure than Indiana currently pays Tom Crean.
Source confirms this report: Martin offered 6-year, $18-million deal at Illinois. Less than Mizzou's 7 year offer. https://t.co/7tbosBX11c— kyle robbins (@kylerrobbins) March 15, 2017
That same source tells me Josh Whitman, who’s conducting the at Illinois has “extremely high expectations” of his next hire. There’s a big difference between $3 and $5 million annually, but still, that’s Top-10 coach money from the Illini, in any sense.
So, where does this all leave Indiana?
I don’t know, man.
There’s a possibility if Indiana’s looking to move on from Tom Crean, they’re looking to let him find his own next move. Crean’s brought Indiana back from the depths of hell to relative great success, has run a program without scandal, and at the very least would deserve to make his own exit if desired. That would make things far cheaper for Indiana, too. With new jobs coming open today, is there a possibility Indiana waits through the weekend to see if Crean gets traction in Seattle or Berkeley or if their desired candidate bows out of the tournament? Possibly! I have no clue, and it seems few do at the moment. Indiana’s quickly turning into Texas football, where everybody and their brother has a Guy Who Knows A Guy Who Probably Doesn’t Know anything at all.
Tom Crean will either be Indiana’s coach next season, or he won’t be. But the longer Indiana goes without giving everyone involved an answer, the more difficult it will be for all involved — for Crean, for players, for recruits. It’s probably time to make some sort of statement.