So Hoop Dirt has the latest: San Jose State: Interviews starting here this week as well. Names that I’ve heard: Rick Croy (head coach Cal Baptist), Chris Jans (head coach New Mexico State), Marvin Menzies (former head coach New Mexico State and UNLV), David Patrick (associate head coach Arkansas / former head coach UC Riverside), Eric Reveno (associate head coach Georgia Tech / former head coach Portland), and Rex Walters (assistant coach New Orleans Pelicans / former head coach at San Francisco and Florida Atlantic).”

Our questions for the serious candidates:

  • The first question to pose is ‘why would you be successful where all others have failed?’
  • What is the overall culture you want to develop, why and how will you implement it?
  • What will be the skill sets/abilities of your assistants?
  • What will you implement to improve recruiting and why will that work?
  • What will you do to better retain players once they arrive on campus?
  • What style(s) will you play offensively and defensively, and why?
  • What are the steps you will take to create program credibility in the community?
  • What are the steps you will take to sell the program internally (to students and professionals on campus)?
  • In the first month after being hired, what will you have accomplished in building the desired relationships with local and regional HS and JC coaches as well as the better travel teams in northern/southern California?

Our Nor Cal Basketball reactions:

We’ll begin by re-posting sentiment expressed about a different program seeking a new head coach from a recent Adam Zagoria tweet but one applicable to SJSU hoops: “If Fordham continues to hire traditionally, then they’re going to traditionally suck,” one local coach said.”

Quick hit: Rick Croy should absolutely be interviewed and considered.

With passion and preparation, Croy succeeds wherever he coaches, whether that be at a community college, a pair of D2 programs or with a trio of D1 schools.

Croy began his coaching career as an assistant at UC Riverside, moved over to Concordia University, then went back to the Highlanders as Head Assistant Coach before landing the top job at Citrus College. During his 2005-2010 tenure at Citrus, he went 130-35, winning a state championship in 2008, earning a Final Four finish in 2010 and notching league championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010 while posting a 92-9 overall record in those seasons. This with a program that enjoyed but one 20 win season in 16 prior years. 13 of his players moved on to the NCAA Division I level with 97 percent (36 of 37) moving on to four-year schools.

He then joined Coach Randy Bennett and St. Mary’s as Head Assistant Coach as well as academic liaison in 2010. After three years in Moraga, he was hired at California Baptist University of the PacWest Conference in April 2013 and led the Lancers to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament every season and an overall 132-29 record before CBU transitioned to D1, joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2018. Croy is 50-33 at the D1 level.

In this past season, the Lancers shot 48% from the floor and 40% from three-point range (to 44% and 34% for opponents). His squad out-rebounded opponents 37.3 to 32.8 and delivered more assists, 393 versus 309.

A graduate of Northgate High in Walnut Creek, Croy matriculated at San Francisco State and maybe the most important of all of his credentials is sporting endorsements from multiple Bay Area basketball luminaries including Randy Bennett, Frank Alloco, Chris Mullin, Bob Myers, Garry St. Jean and Bill Duffy. That’s an influential list.

Croy’s coaching career (HC unless noted):

  • 1999–2001 UC Riverside (asst.)
  • 2001–2002 Concordia (CA) (asst.)
  • 2002–2005 UC Riverside (asst.)
  • 2005–2010 Citrus College
  • 2010–2013 St. Mary’s (asst.)
  • 2013–present California Baptist

Quick hit: There is no reason to hire Marvin Menzies – wrong person, place and time.

Menzies prospered with five straight 20 win seasons at New Mexico State and went 103-37 in conference before he left for UNLV and proceeded to go .500 overall plus and 23-31 with the Runnin’ Rebels in three seasons. Additionally, he will turn 60 in October. How is a coach going to win at SJSU if he cannot succeed with better resourced UNLV? Why would there be any, let alone enough, fire remaining in his belly to pull the Spartans out of a decades long miasma?

Quick hit: Chris Jans is simply radioactive.

Jans has won everywhere he has coached — his on the court success is undeniable. However, his misbehavior is 2015 causing him to be fired as head coach at Bowling Green University is a five-alarmer. Plus, his nine seasons as an assistant at Wichita State under former Shocker leader Greg Marshall also generates concerns. SJSU is already facing various allegations involving a former trainer sexually assaulting student-athletes. Remember the saying about a ten-foot pole?

Quick hit: David Patrick possesses three major plusses in his portfolio and, yes, deserves very strong consideration.

  • a very successful 2006-2010 stint as an assistant at St. Mary’s
  • generating momentum with the UC Riverside program. In 2018-19, he went 10-23 overall but more critically posted a 4-12 Big West Conference record, followed by 17-15 and 7-9. This in an atmosphere where the campus administration is considering the elimination of D1 athletics.
  • a track record of landing recruits from the Bay Area, plus talents out of both Australia and New Zealand

The current Highlander roster (thanks to Patrick) contains six Aussies and three New Zealanders. SJSU desperately needs a recruiting ‘in’ and Patrick would bring just that.

Patrick also landed 6-foot-9 Arinze (Bishop O’Dowd) Chidom when the latter left Washington State after his sophomore season (SJSU made no contact despite Arinze being from Oakland). Chidom averaged 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 47%, 39% and 56% for UC Riverside respectively this season and earned First Team All Big West Conference honors. 6-foot-4 Honorable Mention selection teammate Zyon (College Park High) Pullin averaged 12.1 points, 4.9 boards and dished out a team best 99 assists while shooting 48%, 40% and 80% respectively.

Additionally, Philadelphia 76er Ben Simmons is Patrick’s godson and maybe, just maybe, would contribute financially to the cash poor  Spartan program.

Quick hit: Eric Reveno just hasn’t displayed any reasons why he would be successful at SJSU when so many other have failed.

Reveno achieved success with 19, 21 and 20 win seasons after two rough years beginning at Portland but that was followed by five losing seasons prior to being let go. He couldn’t sustain the momentum and finished 140-178 overall and 60-96 in the West Coast Conference.

Quick hit: Two college coaching tenures and two sets of mediocre results define Rex Walters so no thanks.

Walters has enjoyed two college head coaching stints, going 31-33, 18-18 at Florida Atlantic followed by 126-125 overall at USF, 63-65 in the West Coast Conference. Here’s Steve Kroner/San Francisco Chronicle in a 2016 article:

“Too many players left the USF program under Rex Walters, but the breaking point for USF and its head coach likely resulted from his merely breaking even over eight seasons…

…Walters’ tenure was marked by an inordinate number of players leaving the program before their eligibility expired.

The two most notable instances: after the 2011-12 season, when six players transferred, and in November 2013, when senior point guard Cody Doolin quit the team after a fight with Derksen in practice…”

In his favor, he was raised in the South Bay.

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