In a push to replace assistant coach Scott Spinelli, who left last week to take over the same position at Boston College, Maryland has targeted Indiana assistant Kenny Johnson, a source told CSN on Wednesday and other media outlets have reported.
But Maryland is not alone in its pursuit of the man who has helped the Hoosiers bring major talent from the East Coast to Bloomington. A handful of other schools are looking to lure him away, all while Indiana attempts to retain him.
Take a look at some of his options below:
Staying at Indiana
Since bringing him on staff from Towson, Johnson has helped Indiana to pluck players from talent-rich areas along on the I-95 corridor. Troy Williams and Robert Johnson, Jr. have come or will soon come to Bloomington from Hampton, Va.
Stanford Robinson comes to IU from Paul VI in Fairfax, Va., and Noah Vonleh spent one year in Bloomington by way of Massachusetts before heading to the NBA Draft.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the Hoosiers won’t allow that kind of ace recruiter to walk without a fight. The Star’s Zach Osterman cites a source in saying that Indiana “would commit extra resources to matching a rival offer”--and there is already a good deal of rival interest.
Leaving for Maryland
Johnson is a graduate of the University of Maryland and a native of Oxon Hill, Md. He coached at Wise (Md.) and Paul VI (Va.) and has strong ties as a former assistant with Team Takeover AAU, the Nike-sponsored club that has become the region’s most powerful amateur program.
He will get a raise wherever he ends up, whether that is at Indiana or another school, but Maryland would offer him an opportunity to come closer to where his strong recruiting ties are.
The question would be how Maryland would most want to structure its assistant coaching staff. With the promotion of Dustin Clark to replace Dalonte Hill mid-season and the departure of Spinelli, Johnson would bring more recruiting power to a staff that reeled in a Top 10 class in 2014.
Leaving for Louisville
Johnson has also been linked in reports to Louisville’s efforts to replace assistant Kevin Keatts, who left to take the head coaching job at UNC Wilmington. Louisville not only offers resources, but also offers a sturdy and wide-reaching coaching tree the extends out from head coach Rick Pitino.
Keatts’ hiring comes one year after another assistant, Kareem Richardson, took a head coaching job at UMKC. You’ll also remember Manhattan’s Steve Masiello, who gave Louisville a run for its money in this year’s NCAA tournament, was once an assistant with the Cardinals under Pitino.
The Washington Post is reporting that new Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams reached out to Johnson:
Buzz went after Indiana asst Kenny Johnson, but got rebuffed. Johnson, a hot commodity, has since received interest from #Terps & Louisville— Hokies Journal (@HokiesJournal) April 17, 2014
Of note there: Former Paul VI and Team Takeover assistant Adrian Autry spent time on staff at Virginia Tech before moving on to become an assistant at Syracuse. His presence with the Orange has since paid dividends, most recently in helping to land Top 60 guard Franklin Howard from the Class of 2015.