Cuonzo Martin to bring Tennessee assistants, try to retain Ahmaad Rorie, Idrissa Diallo

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Big priorities for the new Cal coach.


Cuonzo Martin has the job. What does he have to do next?

The first thing he'll have to do is decide which assistants he has to bring with him over to Cal from Tennessee. This quote seems to indicate multiple assistants from his Tennessee staff will be joining him.

Let's take a quick look at our candidates.

Tracy Webster. If anyone is coming, it's Webster. Webster is one of the best assistant coaches in the country. He's the lead recruiter for Martin. He is in charge of developing guards (being a former point man himself at Wisconsin). He has helped scout Tennessee to its biggest wins in the Martin era. You can pretty much pencil him in barring unforeseen circumstances (like another team trying to poach Webster as their new head coach).

Jon Harris. Harris is the second likeliest candidate to join him, being the lead scout for many of the team's most important games and charged with player development of forwards. Given how desperately our team needs more from their forwards and how much Tennessee emphasizes rebounding (and has seen accelerated improvement over the past few seasons thanks to Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon), I imagine Harris is coming.

Kent Williams. This is the tough one. Williams has been in charge of wing development (particularly with regards to shooting). However, Tennessee's biggest weakness has been shooting (if you thought Cal struggled from outside last year, go look at Tennessee's three point stats the past few years and blanch in horror), and wing development has been spotty outside of Jordan McRae. I think if he does leave a coach out, Martin will probably aim for an assistant with stronger West Coast ties and not take Williams with him.

But there's also a good chance all three are coming. This team nearly made the Elite 8.

Now that we've gone over who might be coming, who might be leaving?

Travis DeCuire is probably as good as gone. I doubt Martin wants to take over and be looking over his shoulder at the guy he beat out for the job, and I doubt DeCuire wants to be doing the same thing. Additionally, the likeliest of the candidates to join Martin is Webster, who would almost assuredly join him as his associate head coach. That would pretty much mean a demotion for DeCuire.

DeCuire's next move will most likely be to start looking for mid-major coaching openings and try and make his name, since it was a lack of coaching experience that probably prevented him from taking the mantle as Mike Montgomery's successor. Thankfully for him, there are still numerous schools looking for coaches.

Would Cal retain a staff member for continuity? Possibly, but it's not a prerequisite. Mike Montgomery did keep Gregg Gottlieb, but he'd only been at Cal for a year and didn't really have to dust off too much of Ben Braun's troubles. Gottlieb did interview this offseason at Auburn, although nothing has moved beyond the preliminary stages at this point. With the hire made, expect things to accelerate quickly toward retention or departure. I'm guessing departure.

John Montgomery will probably also consider his future and evaluate his next step. He might try and look to become the primary assistant on a mid-major or become a coach at a Division II/III school for awhile. I doubt he returns to Cal now that DeCuire is no longer the main man.

Could Jay John return to the bench? It's a possibility for Xs and Os (Cal didn't look the same offensively the last two seasons), but there's also a possibility his coaching career is done. He will probably be out.

Then there's Theo Robertson. He's in an interesting situation having just been named director of operations for Cal and is still looking forward in his career. If he's content with that position, he probably stays. If he wants an assistant coaching job, he could be a prime candidate for that third position.

Finally, there's pacifying the recruiting class. Right now, Cal has two crucial lynchpins for next season in Ahmad Rorie and Idrissa Diallo hanging in the balance. Diallo has already reconsidered his recruitment thanks to the fact that he never signed an actual letter of intent, just scholarship papers. He won't need a release to sign with another school.

Rorie doesn't have that luxury. He was initially unhappy with the fact that DeCuire didn't get the job. DeCuire had been his primary recruiter and was probably the big reason for his commitment to Cal. Although he seems happy with the new coach, Rorie will have to acclimate to the possibility that DeCuire might not be on staff next season. The sooner the recruit adjusts to that paradigm shift, the better.

Martin's first big priority is to lock these guys down. Kingsley Okoroh was an impressive late addition, but Cal needs big men depth and a new point guard to run the show down the line. Diallo and Okoroh could provide a great nucleus of talent and Rorie is the next big point guard for Cal. Cal does not want to go into next season having to rely on Tyrone Wallace playing major minutes at the point; they will want Rorie in that rotation. Likewise, Cal will want some big man depth behind David Kravish and Kameron Rooks.

There's plenty of work ahead for Martin in the next few weeks before he can start turning his attention to the 2014-15 season.

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