ASU Basketball: Would Steve Lavin Be A Good Hire?


More than fours days have passed since Herb Sendek was fired and we aren’t any closer to the answer on who the next head basketball coach at ASU is going to be.

There has certainly been plenty of chatter on the list of candidates.

Jeff Capel, currently an assistant coach at Duke, was one of the first names mentioned as a possible replacement for Sendek. Bobby Hurley, Josh Pastner, Russell Turner and Ron Hunter are some of the names who have been brought up too.

Another name has popped up in recent days and he does have ties to what use to be the Pac-10, now the Pac-12. That’s Steve Lavin, who reportedly has interest in the ASU job.

Lavin and St. John’s, a school he spent the past five years coaching, agreed to mutually part ways yesterday. It was reported earlier in the week that the two sides were working on a contract extension, but Lavin and the university couldn’t come to an agreement for whatever reason.

In his five years with St. John’s, Lavin led the Red Storm to two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Both times, 2011 and this season, the Red Storm lost in the first round of the tournament.

The 50-year-old will best be known by Sun Devils fans for his years at UCLA. In seven years in Westwood, Lavin went 145-78, taking the Bruins to the tournament in his first six seasons.

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Things didn’t end well for Lavin though. In his seventh and final season with UCLA, the Bruins went a poor 10-19, which was one of the worst records in school history. He would leave the school soon afterwards before taking a television gig on ESPN for a few years.

The question remains is would Lavin good be a good fit for ASU?

First off, let me start out by saying that I thought Pastner would be the best hire out of all the guys who have been brought up thus far. He’s young, he can flat-out recruit and being an Arizona alum, he would bring a buzz to a program that has been lacking for years now.

I’m not totally against bringing in Lavin though.  He’s proven that he can win at two different programs in two different regions of the country.

Lavin’s teams at UCLA always had a knack for upsets, especially in his later years there. In four consecutive years, Lavin’s Bruins beat the No. 1 ranked team in the country; Stanford in 2000 and 2001, Kansas in 2002 and Arizona in 2003.

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The latter is something that all Sun Devils fans can get behind on a regular basis.

Lavin’s biggest strength probably lies in his ability to recruit. When he was at UCLA, he was one of the better recruiters in the entire country.

In two of his years there, Lavin signed the No. 1 class in the nation. It’s not quite John Calipari numbers, but Lavin signed seven McDonald’s High School All-Americans during his time in Westwood and seven Bruins players went on to play in the NBA, with Baron Davis being the best of the group.

There’s certainly a lot to like about Lavin. He has a career win percentage of 63 percent, he’s very familiar with the conference from his time at UCLA and he has a history of recruiting at a high level on the west coast.

He’s not my first choice, but bringing in Lavin would be a quality hire for a basketball program looking to win on a consistent basis. Of course, if the university doesn’t give Lavin or whoever is hired the resources to be successful, it really won’t matter.

Stay tuned.

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