Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Bob Hurley Sr. Says He Won’t Take Rutgers Job; Program Could Face Mass Exodus of Players; Recruits in Flux
Melissa Hurley wants her father, Naismith Hall of Famer Bob Hurley Sr., to become the next head coach at Rutgers, and figures that may be the best way to keep two of the team’s best players happy.
Two of Hurley’s former St. Anthony players, guards Eli Carter and Myles Mack, are sophomores on the Rutgers roster and one, or both, could opt to transfer in the wake of Mike Rice’s firing.
Their classmate, fellow guard Jerome Seagears, and wing Vincent Garrett had already decided to transfer beforeRice was fired Wednesday morning.
“They’re going to wait and see how this all plays out,” a source close to the former St. Anthony players said of Carter and Mack.
Sandra Mack, Myles’ mother, said she was uncertain at this time what her son would do.
“I have no idea,” she told SNY.tv. “It depends on what happens with the coaching [when] they bring somebody new.”
Meantime, Melissa said she and her mother, Chris Hurley, floated the idea of Bob Sr. taking over at Rutgers. The 65-year-old Naismith Hall of Famer has been linked to the jobs at Rutgers and Seton Hall whenever they become open.
“I only want him there because of Eli and Myles because I feel Myles, the poor thing, had to leave his high school [Paterson Catholic] with one year left because it closed,” Melissa told SNY.tv. “Now here he is going into his junior year [at Rutgers]. I thought it would be a calming force for Eli and Myles.
“My dad said he has a few years left under his belt coaching, so I said, ‘Why not do it somewhere different?’ Maybe it’s just time he goes for a few years.”
Bob Hurley Sr. said he told Chris and Melissa to go back to their shopping trip at the Short Hills Mall because it wasn’t going to happen.
“Zero percent [chance],” Hurley, who won back-to-back New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in 2011 and ’12, told SNY.tv.
“I’ve been in the same school since I was in college and I begin collecting Social Security in July,” he added.
“Even though I don’t think I’m on the back end of it, I love coaching. That being said, it’s a little late for me.”
He joked that he’s too busy taking care of Melissa’s kids, Gabriel and Anna, during the day.
Meantime, Dan Hurley is currently the head coach at Rhode Island and Bobby Hurley just accepted the job at Buffalo. As I wrote here, Dan would understandably be a target for Rutgers, but it remains unclear if he would leave a loaded Rhode Island team heading into his second year there.
Asked if he would consider being an associate head coach or assistant to one of his sons, Bob Hurley Sr. said, “No, absolutely not.”
Meantime, Melissa said her family is very close to Rice and it would be a “conflict of interest” for her father to succeed him.
Bob Hurley Sr. said Carter and Mack planned to take a “wait-and-see” approach as far as the new coach.
“I spoke to Eli’s dad [Tuesday],” he said. “I said we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.”
I floated various options to succeed Rice, including former NBA coach and former Rutgers standout Eddie Jordan, but Hurley Sr. said he’s not certain Jordan would be able to relate to college kids.
“My concern with him is being removed from the college game for a while,” he said. “This job needs someone who understands the college game. He could turn out to be a terrific coach but he’s very removed from Rutgers.
“Everybody should be confident that the person can come in and identify with the kids.”
In a worst-case scenario for Rutgers, there is a mass exodus and several of the team’s core young players, including Mack, Carter and Kadeem Jack, opt to leave.
“I can’t see them staying,” one source close to several of the players told SNY.tv. “It’s going to depend on who comes in there.”
RECRUITS IN FLUX
Meantime, Rutgers has three pledged recruits for 2013, all of whom are in flux.
South Kent point guard Shane Rector may re-open his recruitment, and JUCO wings Craig Brown and Chris Griffin could do the same.
“I’m considering opening up my recruitment again but I’ll know in the next few days,” Rector told SNY.tv.
His father, Deshon, added: “We’re discussing all options, including re-opening his commitment. He’s not necessarily saying he’s not going to Rutgers at this time.”
Brown’s AAU coach, Chris Ayers, said: “It’s a waiting process. It depends on who gets the job and who gets involved with him.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.