The 2023 college basketball coaching shakeup brought major transformations within major conferences. Notable programs like Syracuse, Georgetown and St. John’s announced new leadership for their 2023-24 seasons despite frequent player transfers, suggesting renewed optimism for success on NCAA basketball picks. Below we take a closer look at five first-year coaches that appear poised for instantaneous success.
Rick Pitino | St. John’s
Rick Pitino’s arrival at St. John’s marks an historic turning point for the Red Storm. Fresh off an impressive tenure at Iona, Pitino immediately set about overhauling their roster to compensate for key departures and fill any holes left by these major moves.
Joel Soriano is the sole holdover from the previous regime. Coach Pitino immediately capitalized on the transfer market to secure former Ivy League standouts Jordan Dingle from Penn and Chris Ledlum from Harvard; additionally Daniss Jenkins from Iona was added. These additions significantly bolster St. John’s prospects.
But the transformation didn’t stop there: Pitino recruited Zuby Ejiofor, a former top 50 prospect transferring from Kansas with three seasons of eligibility left, as well as Glenn Taylor Jr. who averages 11.6 points. Pitino’s impact goes far beyond recruiting; his coaching expertise combined with his track record of success both NCAA and NBA has already propelled them forward to greater heights.
Rodney Terry | Texas
Rodney Terry has made history during his first season coaching the Texas Longhorns. Some may contest his inclusion, as he assumed full-time duties following Texas’ remarkable run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Terry initially assumed an interim coaching role in December but was officially confirmed after Texas was eliminated from the Big Dance tournament. This puts him among an elite group of coaches whose tenures began prior to Pitino, further complicating Texas’ situation.
Terry’s extended engagement in Texas’ program enabled it to retain key talent. Tyrese Hunter, Dylan Disu, and Dillon Mitchell returned from an experience-rich team that won both the Big 12 Tournament and made its deepest NCAA Tournament run since 2008. This experience-rich core will serve Texas well going forward.
Terry’s emphasis on defense and ability to maximize returning stars while also integrating newcomers is integral in Texas’ pursuit of excellence, so their future under his guidance promises to be fascinating.
Kim English | Providence
Kim English emerged as an unlikely victor following Ed Cooley’s move from Providence to Georgetown for the coaching transition, making an immediate impactful impression with his positive influence felt across Providence Friars football and basketball teams.
One of English’s notable accomplishments has been his ability to keep key players from an NCAA Tournament squad on board for another season – Devin Carter and Bryce Hopkins in particular – ensuring Friars can continue on their successful path in 2017. This bodes well for their prospects this coming season.
Bryce Hopkins from Kentucky stands out as an outstanding new addition for Providence. Last season he averaged 15.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists on an impressive average performance – giving Providence an edge against rival schools in terms of talent and rising stars alike. With both veteran players as well as new talent joining its roster this season Providence stands to have another competitive year ahead of it.
Mark Madsen | California
California Golden Bears football program has endured difficult times under former head coach Mark Fox’s watch, posting an unimpressive 38-87 record across four seasons. But with Mark Madsen as their new leader comes hope for future success for this program.
Cal’s struggles became all too apparent during the 2022-23 season, ending with a dismal 3-29 record and ranking No. 270 at KenPom and No. 315 on the NET ratings, reflecting their difficulty competing within college basketball’s highly-competitive landscape.
Aimaq, previously with Mercer, Utah Valley and Texas Tech boasts an impressive resume despite suffering through injuries during his previous season with Texas Tech. Averaging 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds while playing limited minutes for them. His return with Madsen from Utah Valley promises to further elevate Cal’s frontcourt.
Josh Eilert | West Virginia
West Virginia experienced an eventful offseason, from legendary coach Bob Huggins’ challenges to recruiting two top transfer classes according to 247Sports, to interim coach Josh Eilert providing stability amid this turmoil.
Eilert should be applauded for his leadership role in keeping West Virginia’s impressive transfer class intact. Key transfers such as Arizona native Kerr Kriisa, Syracuse transfer Jesse Edwards and Montana State native RaeQuan Battle have all found homes at West Virginia where they will likely play pivotal roles during its upcoming campaign.
Experience, acquisitions, and roster potential have put these first-year coaches in an excellent position to deliver immediate results in 2023-24 college basketball season; their journeys promise an exhilarating chapter in college basketball’s ever-evolving landscape; while the top sports betting adds another level of anticipation for fans and enthusiasts.