Avery Johnson completed his coaching staff today with the hire of Scott Pospichal. Pronounced "POSS-pickle" (people are going to have fun with that!), Coach Pospichal joins the staff after spending the previous 10 years as head coach of the Texas AAU program, Texas Titans. He coached Avery Johnson Jr. at the AAU level so he and CAJ obviously had previous ties.
The Titans have been an elite AAU program during Pospichal's tenure, and he has had the opportunity to coach several notable players including Damion Jones [Vanderbilt], Julius Randle [Kentucky, L.A. Lakers], and Prince Ibeh [Texas]. In 10 years, Pospichal led his AAU team to seven national championship games, winning four of them.
At the collegiate level, Pospichal's career includes a stint as an assistant coach at UNC Charlotte from 1983-85; and he was the head coach at Palm Beach Community College from 1987-1995, where he compiled a 181-72 record (the winningest coach in program history) and won three conference championships. Perhaps most impressively, he placed 48 out of 50 players into four-year universities. He brings experience from several different levels of basketball, though this will arguably be the biggest challenge he will have faced as a coach.
I'm certainly no fan of AAU basketball, but if you're a coach that wants to recruit at a high level these days, you need to have ties to the AAU world or a staff member with those connections. Pospichal should help Alabama basketball recruit at a high level, particularly in the talent-rich state of Texas. On the surface, it certainly appears to be a good hire.
So, a quick review of the Alabama coaching staff:
Avery Johnson - Former college and NBA player. Former NBA head coach, selected as NBA Coach of the Year in 2006. Compiled a 254-186 (to be fair, 116 of those losses were with the awful New Jersey Nets) record as a head coach in six seasons.
Bob Simon - Ten years coaching experience at the high school level, and a little over 20 years of experience at the collegiate level. Coaching stops include Providence, Fairfield, Toledo and Wayne State.
Antoine Pettway - He is of course a beloved former Alabama player. Including the one year he spent as a graduate assistant at Alabama, Antoine has seven total years under his belt as an assistant coach. In what has to be a dream come true for Pett, all but two (Jacksonville State) of those seven years have been at Alabama. He has now survived two coaching turnovers, and has become a dynamite recruiter during that span of time, particularly in the state of Alabama. Pettway played a large part in recruiting current members of the team from Alabama along with the current 3-man recruiting class of Dazon Ingram, Donta Hall and Brandon Austin. At this rate, I think Pettway should be allowed a chance to interview should the head coaching position open again (hopefully not in the near future).
Lou DeNeen - Coach Lou was retained by CAJ, thus marking his third season at Alabama. DeNeen has 30 years of experience in the profession, having coached at the collegiate level as well as serving as a personal trainer to professional athletes. Personally, I think he's done a great job in his two seasons at Alabama. While the wins and losses weren't what we had hoped for the last two years, the teams were in the best shape we'd seen them during the Grant tenure. He's also worth following on Twitter #HaveAKickAssDay.
Taken all together, it's a staff with experience at several different levels of the sport, former players, connections to the all-important AAU circuit and the NBA. It's way too early to call it a homerun staff, but I like the potential of this staff to do great things in the years to come. Buckle your seat belts!