For the last couple years, Syracuse Orange basketball fans have been on alert any time a head coaching gig has opened up. That's mainly because we've gotten used to hearing longtime assistant and heir to the throne Mike Hopkins has been under consideration for a bunch of them.
Now, in the post-sanctions world where Boeheim's days are numbered and Hopkins's seemingly rock-solid deal to take over doesn't seem quite as rock solid anymore, it may or may not mean our concerns are even more warranted now.
That brings us to the Buffalo Bulls, who are in the market for a new head coach now that Bobby Hurley has shuffled off to be the new Arizona State Sun Devils guy. Bulls fans are taking it in stride as Hurley's two seasons there elevated the program and he leaves on the heels of an NCAA Tourney run.
The early list of potential candidates includes some assistants, other MAC guys and even some P5 assistants who know how to recruit the area. What I haven't seen is much of any mention of Mike Hopkins. It's both surprising and unsurprising.
On one hand, I think Hopkins is painted into a corner a little bit as the heir apparent at Syracuse. Everyone knows it. And even if the Chancellor isn't willing to guarantee it, most folks still believe Hop is next in line when Boeheim leaves in three seasons. Hopkins even alluded to the situation recently in an attempt to tamp down concerns.
The other thing, however, is that Hopkins was also the heir apparent when USC almost hired him. And he was the heir apparent when he was a finalist for the Oregon State job. Same goes for the Boston College job. It hasn't stopped him from looking for what else is out there. And if the big schools aren't willing to take a chance on him because of his Syracuse ties, maybe a team in a lower conference will.
If Buffalo wants someone who can recruit the area and the state, look no further than Coach Hop. He's said it himself.
Buffalo has been great to the Cuse. Malik Campbell, Damone Brown, Mike Williams and the Niagara Falls boys. #OrangeNation— Coach Mike Hopkins (@Coach_Hopkins) March 20, 2014
Plus, if you're serious about this whole New York State University thing, what better way to send a shot across Syracuse's bow than to hire away our own golden boy?
My guess is that we actually won't hear anything about Hopkins and this gig. The stink of the NCAA sanctions is a little too fresh. Besides, I don't think Buffalo wants to try and hire another guy it's probably going to lose in 2-3 seasons. They want someone who wants to be at Buffalo.