Quite a few on Rock M favor Mack above all other mid-major candidates. Is there any chance he reciprocates?
Chris Mack, Xavier Head Coach
Career Record: 50-17 (two years at Xavier).
Accomplishments: He's gone 29-3 in the Atlantic 10 and coached his team to the Sweet 16 (losing an epic battle against Kansas State) in his first year as a head coach at any level. He succeeded Sean Miller as top man at Xavier, and he has, well, succeeded. He also has one of the most entertaining Twitter accounts I've seen from a coach. A coach who's actually not afraid to show personality makes me happy.
Before He Was a Head Coach: According to Wikipedia, Mack's career began at Cincinnati McCauley High School, coaching J.V. basketball. From there, like Buzz Williams, Mack worked his way up the ladder. Varsity high school coach, Xavier assistant, then Wake Forest assistant. He became a branch on the Skip Prosser coaching tree, then headed back to be Miller's top assistant. He has coached both high school JV and varsity ... assisted at the mid-major and major conference levels ... and has hit the ground running at one of the premiere mid-major programs.
Ties to the Midwest: He's got Ohio written everywhere you look on his resume. He played two seasons of college ball at Evansville (granted, not in Ohio), then finished up at Xavier. His four seasons as Prosser's assistant at Wake were his only non-Ohio coaching experience.
Ties to Missouri: None, as far as I can tell.
Does He See Mizzou As a Destination Job? Honestly, it seems as if he might see Xavier as his destination job. (Obviously simply saying you're committed to a program means nothing in the coaching business -- see: Williams, Roy; Anderson, Mike -- but in this case, with his background, it's more than likely true.)
Can He Recruit? Seems like it. Obviously two years is not a large sample, but of his seven signees in two years, five are 3-star guys, two 4-stars. At the mid-major level, it's hard to prove that you cannot recruit -- like Gregg Marshall, you can win big without impressing Rivals at all -- but it's pretty easy to prove that you can. It appears Mack can.
This Year's Recruits (i.e. Players Who Might or Might Not Come With Him): PG Darwin Davis (***, 5'9, 160, Bloomington, IN -- signed), SF Dezmine Wells (****, 6'4, 220, Hargrave Military Academy, VA -- signed), PF Jalen Reynolds (***, 6'8, 210, Livonia, MI -- signed), PG Semaj Christon (***, 6'3, 160, Cincinnati -- considering Xavier and...not sure who else), SG A.J. English (***, 6'3, 175, Middletown, DE -- considering Marquette, Xavier, VCU, George Mason).
XU's Ken Pomeroy Stats
Xavier's Two-Year Average
Ken Pom Rankings
|XU Offense||XU Defense|
|Off. Reb. %||140.5
Statistical Tendencies: Xavier is good on both ends of the court, but they're better on offense. They make a good percentage of their shots (something that is aided by the fact that they don't take an overt number of 3-pointers), they get to the line, they don't turn the ball over, and they don't force turnovers. They play at a reasonably well-paced clip, and they rebound the hell out of the ball on the defensive end.
Would He Come Here? I mean ... probably ... but it would take a lot of money (Cincinnati is his home, and he's made it clear he loves Xavier), and how much money do you think Mike Alden is willing to pay a guy with two years of head coaching experience?
Thoughts: I don't think the experience and the likely cost match up here. Mack would almost certainly give Xavier a stellar hometown discount, and I don't think Mizzou's willing to overpay as much as they would have to. Mack's a good coach, but considering the situation he inherited (a very good one), I'm not sure we've learned enough about him for him to be atop Mike Alden's list. Love the guy, though, and if we're taking chances on less experienced guys, he's atop my list. And that's worth something to Alden ... I'm just sure of it...