As one probably expects from RMN at this point, we plan on analyzing and over-analyzing every viable (and non-viable) name potentially associated with Missouri's search to replace Mike Anderson as head men's basketball coach. Today, we will look at three names supposedly on Mizzou's initial candidates list.
-- Matt Painter
Scott Sutton, Oral Roberts Head Coach
Career Record: 223-155, all at Oral Roberts (last seven years: 148-84). ORU's five years before Sutton: 85-56.
Accomplishments: Five 20-win seasons, four conference titles, three conference tournament titles, one NIT appearance.
Before He Was a Head Coach: Played two seasons for his father, Eddie, at Oklahoma State. Hired as an assistant at ORU, first by Bill Self in 1995, then by Self's replacement Barry Hinson after Self's departure in 1997.
Ties to the Midwest: His entire career -- both playing and coaching -- has taken place within the state of Oklahoma.
Ties to Missouri: Let's see ... 1) Oklahoma borders Missouri, 2) ORU beat Mizzou in 2009, and 3) ORU beat No. 1 Kansas in 2006. So that's something. Plus, he's shown a propensity for recruiting the KC area. Mizzou killer Dominique Morrison (2008 signee) hails from Raytown, and recent ORU commit D.J. Jackson attends Archbishop O'Hara.
Does He See Mizzou As a Destination Job? Possibly. He's from the area, and he has the "loyalty" gene, staying at ORU for well over a decade at this point. ORU had strong success as a "lilypad" job in the mid- to late-1990s, with Self and Hinson staying just a combined six seasons before moving on to bigger things. Sutton has maintained the Golden Eagles' success -- after two losing seasons to start his tenure, ORU has been over .500 ten straight years. Plus, with the Sutton name a little damaged at OSU, he probably wouldn't be a threat to flee to his alma mater.
Can He Recruit? Unknown. ORU is a basketball-friendly school, but it is also extremely religious and restrictive. Within this environment, about half of Sutton's signees have received star ratings from Rivals.com, and three have received a 3-star rating.
This Year's Recruits (i.e. Players Who Might or Might Not Come With Him): PG D.J. Jackson (NR, 6'0, 180, Kansas City, MO -- committed, not signed), Andrew Wilson (NR, 6'6, 200, Tulsa, OK -- considering Tulsa, ORU, SMS).
ORU's Ken Pomeroy Stats
ORU's Five-Year Average
Ken Pom Rankings
|ORU Offense||ORU Defense|
|Off. Reb. %||97.6||89.8|
Statistical Tendencies: ORU's style in recent years has been pretty well-defined: they attack the basket, they don't take many 3-pointers, they draw fouls, and they hit the glass. On defense, they guard the perimeter like mad, and they rotate well to the ball, allowing few assists and few good looks from long-range. In a lot of ways, ORU does right most of the things Mizzou does wrong. Of course, they also do wrong a lot of the things that Mizzou has done right recently -- namely, ball control. With a lot of turnover, they also fouled a ton this season and allowed a very high opponent's FT% (meaning they fouled guards a lot). A Sutton hire would result in a really interesting transition for Mizzou's seniors-to-be. Not necessarily a bad transition, just an interesting one.
Would He Come Here? Quite possibly. I don't know his history -- surely he's received advances from bigger schools being that he's both coached and succeeded at a school known for serving as a career launching point. At some point, you go from being a viable candidate for making the mid-major-to-major jump, to a career-at-one-school guy; as Sutton heads into his 40s, now's the time to make a jump if he's going to.
Thoughts: I like Scott Sutton. This would not be an obvious home run hire, and it would not generate the buzz (sorry) that someone like Buzz Williams would, but I don't really care. Gary Pinkel wasn't a sexy hire either. Sutton appears to have all the long-term characteristics Mizzou fans are probably overvaluing at the moment, and he has built an impressive list of general accomplishments. The obvious question with him is recruiting. It's impossible to tell how he would do recruiting to a bigger, less-restrictive school, so it would be, like everything else, a leap of faith that he could recruit at the level he would need. Sutton is not my top choice (honestly, I'm not sure who is yet), but I wouldn't complain at all with this hire.