Normally, assistant coaching hires in mid-major college basketball don’t move the meter. However, when that hire could mean a monumental shift in the recruiting landscape of the country, exceptions are made.
UNLV head coach Dave Rice is reportedly close to hiring current Findlay Prep head coach Todd Simon as one of his assistant coaches, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. The list of names that have emerged from Findlay in the past few seasons is staggering, as they range from #1 overall pick Anthony Randolph just last year to guys like Tristan Thompson and Avery Bradley who have already made NBA impacts.
While Simon was only the head coach at the school for one season, he led them to a 35-1 record including a national ranking throughout the year, and Findlay has joined Oak Hill Academy as one of the leading “basketball factories” in the country. Simon’s ties to Findlay would help recruiting immensely, as the prep school program has been able to bring in big-time talent from all over the world, and the Rebels would have a potential pipeline set up to Las Vegas.
There is also a built-in connection between Simon and UNLV, as he was a video coordinator there, but frankly, he’d be insane to turn down an assistant job in Vegas. We will await confirmation, but with this addition, Rice and company could be setting the program up for a return to their dominance from the early 1990’s.