When we listed the potential names to replace Scott Spinelli on Maryland's staff, Kenny Johnson emerged as an interesting possibility. Many thought Spinelli's replacement would be someone with an X's and O's background, filling a void on the staff, but there was another void not often talked about, one left open when Dalonte Hill resigned -- a top-tier DC recruiter.
Sure, Bino Ranson is one of the best in the nation at recruiting Baltimore, but Hill helped bring in both Trimble and Wiley from the D.C. area, and his presence will assuredly be missed in future recruiting classes. The solution? Why not Johnson, who was able to bring Stanford Robinson and Robert Johnson to Indiana and graduated from Maryland in 1999?
Things aren't that simple, unfortunately -- Maryland isn't the only school who has their eyes on the Indiana assistant. From Alex Prewitt:
Johnson quickly emerged as Maryland's clear top choice to replace Scott Spinelli, sources said Wednesday, while Louisville wants Johnson to succeed Kevin Keatts. Now comes word that the Hoosiers aren't prepared to lose their ace recruiter and will fight to ensure he stays, a rather obvious development that underscores the competition Maryland faces.
So in terms of basketball programs to be competing with, Louisville and Indiana are nearly as tough as it gets. The Hoosiers want to give him a raise and keep him, while Louisville has a pretty enticing opening for him there, which brings up some questions!
Will Johnson even leave Indiana?
Tom Crean hasn't exactly been successful with the Hoosiers (two NCAA appearances in six years), so Johnson may want to jump ship in order to boost his stock for a future head coaching gig. That being said, it appears Indiana really wants him to stick around, and not having to move while also getting a raise to his reported $200,000 annual salary sounds pretty enticing.
Can Maryland win out over Louisville?
If Johnson does decide to leave, these would be the two main suitors (although Prewitt reports there may be a third). He obviously has the local ties to Maryland, graduating from the school and spending six seasons with D.C. AAU powerhouse Team Takeover, and would have a prominent role within the staff. But Rick Pitino and Louisville have a history of two things: winning and turning assistant coaches into head coaches (like Kevin Keatts, the newly hired UNC-Wilmington head coach).
If not Johnson, where does Maryland turn?
Former Marshall head coach Tom Herrion and former Bucknell head coach Pat Flannery seem the most likely options. There's also that vacant director of basketball operations position, with former Jacksonville head coach (and Silver Spring native) Cliff Warren being bandied about as the only rumored name at this point.