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.
Brian Gregory, Dayton Head Coach
Career Record: 172-94 (all at Dayton). Last four years: 97-45.
Accomplishments: Despite the lack of NCAA appearances -- the Flyers have made just two in eight years -- Gregory has built a consistent winner at Dayton. The Flyers have won at least 22 games in each of the last four seasons and five of his eight in charge. Obviously that would be enough to make a lot of tourney appearances if he could win at the same level in the Big 12. He also has the 2010 NIT title on his list of credits.
Before He Was a Head Coach: Gregory is an Izzo guy. He spent most of his early coaching career by Tom Izzo's side at Michigan State; he was an assistant at MSU for 10 years (along with one year at Toledo and two at Northwestern) and was associate head coach during the Spartans' run to the 2000 national title. He was born in Mount Pleasant, Illinois, and graduated from Oakland University.
Ties to the Midwest: Born in Illinois, graduated in Michigan, assistant coach in Michigan, head coach in Ohio. Those are some midwestern ties.
Ties to Missouri: None that I can find, other than the same "Missouri borders Big Ten country" ties that Matt Painter has.
Does He See Mizzou As a Destination Job? Good question. Tom Izzo is somehow just 56 years old, so it might be a while before he retires, but ... if Michigan State were to replace him with a branch from the Izzo tree, wouldn't Gregory be at the top of that list if he were to continue to succeed?
Can He Recruit? Actually, yeah, he can. In the last five years, Dayton has signed 15 players -- one did not receive a Rivals rating, and two were 2-star guys, but nine were 3-star players and two were 4-stars. If you assume that one's recruiting ability goes up by about a star or so when jumping from mid-major to major conference (that's a complete assumption, by the way, I have not tried to back that up with data), then Gregory could be a potentially high-ceiling recruiter. And hey, who doesn't want another Detroit Connection?
This Year's Recruits (i.e. Players Who Might or Might Not Come With Him): SF LaDontae Henton (***, 6'5, Lansing, MI -- signed letter of intent), PF Percy Gibson (***, 6'8, 230, Detroit -- signed letter of intent), PG Kevin Kaspar (NR, 6'1, 175, Henderson, NV -- considering Dayton, Western Kentucky, Utah State).
Dayton's Ken Pomeroy Stats
Dayton's Five-Year Average
Ken Pom Rankings
|UD Offense||UD Defense|
|Off. Reb. %||85.6
Statistical Tendencies: Brian Gregory is, in many ways, the anti-Mike Anderson. His roots are in the North, not the South ... his teams play super-slow ... his teams aren't much in the ball-handling department, but they rebound like crazy ... in a "my short, blonde girlfriend broke up with me, so I'm going after a tall brunette" sort of way, spurned fans wishing to forget all about Anderson will find a lot to like about Gregory.
One question here: if Gregory is a good recruiter, should we be seeing better ratings than this? In two of the last three seasons, Dayton has ranked 252nd or worse in Off. eFG%, taken a ton of 3's, allowed a ton of 3-point attempts, and turned the ball over quite a bit. With this sort of profile, I envision Gregory's teams as athletic and strong but not amazingly disciplined.
Would He Come Here? Quite possibly, yeah. Dayton's last two coaches -- Jim O'Brien and Oliver Purnell -- went on to bigger and better things after a few seasons, and Gregory's reaching his mid-40s. Now seems to be the time. Like I said, though, beware Michigan State.
Thoughts: Like Scott Sutton, there's not a lot to complain about with Gregory, and as I mentioned above, there would be a bit of a cathartic, "cleansing yourself of all things Anderson" feeling here, if that's your sort of thing. I worry about his teams' discipline, and I worry about the Michigan State factor, however. I've made it clear that I'll support whoever is hired (even, gulp, Buzz Williams), but I rank Gregory at the bottom of the three candidates we've reviewed so far.