Candidate #6: Dan Hurley, The Obvious Choice

What if the Seton Hall job doesn’t open up?  Is UConn THAT appealing, ever been to Storrs?

Dan Hurley, Head Coach of Rhode Island, is about as rock solid of a hire as it gets.  He checks all the boxes and given Georgia’s track record, he wouldn’t be the first coach to go straight from Kingston, Rhode Island to Athens, Georgia.  There’s precedent, the search firm track record supports it and he has a great track record himself.  Not a lot to find problem with here.  Dan Hurley is the OBVIOUS CHOICE.

Dan Hurley’s track record is hard to top

He’s not a Mid-Major Coach, he’s in the Atlantic 10, which is a power conference in College Basketball.  Hurley’s Collegiate Coaching career started at Wagner College on Staten Island.  Hurley took the Rhode Island job after success at the Northeastern Conference school.

He did not get by on his last name alone before reaching a Head Coaching position.  Hurley was an Assistant Coach at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City and became an Assistant Coach at Rutgers before becoming the Head Coach at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark.  Dan Hurley is a Jersey guy through and through, which ought to charm Rahway native, Mark Slonaker.

Hurley turned around Wagner and Rhode Island.  Wagner’s current Head Coach, Bashir Mason, is one of the youngest College Basketball coaching stars despite fumbling twice in the NEC Tournament Finals in seasons where they had won the Regular Season Title.  Rhode Island is now a power program itself, winning on the recruiting trail with guys outside of New England.

Rhode Island is poised to notch a single digit seed in the NCAA Tournament this season and make some noise.

Dan Hurley Metrics

This team puts up points and holds opponents down on the defensive end.  They have very good ball movement and while they make a lot of Free Throws, this is a team that is an average on offense as far as their ability to complete the possession with points.  They do not turn the ball over and they create quality shots, but they are very average in their ability to get the ball through the net.

That does not seem exciting, but they are able to put up a lot of points and deny opponents from getting shot attempts.

Their ability to force opponents to turn the ball over is uncanny and this sets up the pace of play quite well.  It also results in a points off turnovers, which is a component of the extra effort points that are very important.  They have an above average rebounding team and a top quartile offensive rebounding team, which means second chance points.  The team wins with effort and tenacity rather than relying on their talent alone.  Danny Hurley coached teams have HUGE UPSIDE.

In the past two seasons, the obvious is that the team is offensively and defensively efficient.  What is less obvious is that Hurley adjusted to his talent when it came to pace of play.  Last season, the team played at a slower pace.

Hurley’s willingness to adjust his pace of play based on the talent is much like Joe Dooley at Florida Gulf Coast.  The shot distribution also is similar.

Rhode Island took 41.3% of their shots in the restricted arc, which is 49th highest in the country.  Rhode Island fell in the middle of the country when it came to attempting shots in the non-money zones, 183rd.  21.1% of their shots are attempted in transition.

Dan Hurley’s Style of Play 

Pressure Man-to-Man Defense is the calling card for Rhode Island under Hurley.  Hurley adjusts his style of play and defense to fit his roster, he’s not going to fit square pegs into round holes.

“To prepare for this season without Martin and Iverson, Hurley and his coaching staff watched extensive footage of Villanova, and how it has defended with four guards, the toughness and determination needed when giving up so much size. Rhode Island adopted some of the Wildcats’ philosophies, like switches at the non-center spot, and their ball-screen defense. Most of all, they tried to emulate how well they communicate and talk on defense, how together they are. So far, allowing just 66.3 points per game, it has worked.”

Offensively, there are a few set pieces in Hurley’s offense (like an elevator screen – this is not something that is thought of by reading and reacting), but it is largely a motion-oriented offense that is heavy on the ball screen and roll opportunities.  Hurley will adjust how the offense plays according to what he sees out there.  There’s a level of flexibility to get the most out of his team in every game and situation.

Hurley is an Injection of Energy and Flexibility

  • He looks to find the best solutions for his talent rather than going the other way around.
  • Aggressive defense that is efficient.
  • An efficient offense.
  • Resurrected two programs.
  • Recruits nationally.
  • Extremely engaging in practice.

Dan Hurley is the obvious choice.  Now go get yourself a Pork Roll.