It comes as quite the surprise that Ohio University Head basketball coach Tim O'Shea jumped ship earlier this week. He accepted a position as the men's basketball coach at the newly established, in D1 atleast, Bryant University.
Although O'Shea did win 20 games last year (20-13), he has a home in Rhode Island and strong ties to the New England area. It sounds like this decision had to be driven by personal reasons. Why else would anyone leave Ohio for Bryant, who is not tournament eligible for a few years?
I am anxious to see how this plays out because I think it could be a winning situation for the Mid-American Conference. Although O'Shea recruited some of the top talent in the MAC (Leon Williams, Jerome Tillman), his teams always seemed to underachieve.
If Ohio can replace O'Shea with a coach who can maximize Ohio's talent it would improve the competitiveness of the Mid-American Conference as a whole. That could mean more revenue, more notoriety and eventually more bids to the NCAA tournament.
It will be an interesting year in the Mid-American Confererence due to so many question marks. Conference stables Ohio, Kent State and Toledo all have new coaches while Charlie Cole's health is always a question mark at Miami. Bowling Green's Louis Orr and Northern Illinois' Ricardo Patton both enter their second seasons with a certain optimism.
Ford has had to completely rebuild his frontcourt after the departures of MAC Defensive Player of the Year Haminn Quaintance and All league forward Mike Scott. The impact of losing those two individuals will hurt a lot more than people realize. Scott was a coach on the court and was highly motivated off of it. Both players did a lot of intangibles that could not be taught.
There were a few instances early last season where Christian said that Scott's defensive adjustments and rotations prevented easy baskets on blown defensive coverages.
Offseason questions about Rodriquez Sherman's knee doesn't bode well for the Flashes either. If he can't go this season then Ford truly has his work cut out for him.
Akron coach Keith Dambrot must prove that he can continue the success he has had the last few years now that The LeBron James Akron contingent has moved on (Dru Joyce, Romeo Travis and Jeremiah Wood). The Zips were a different team last year when Wood went down with an injury lacking any type of strength and presence on the inside. They must also find someone who can run the point, incoming freshman Humpty Hitchens perhaps?