According to sources close to the situation, N.C. State will make a mammoth push to try and convince Hickory, N.C., native Rick Barnes to leave Austin and return to his home state.
He's the guy they want, but not necessarily the guy they can get.
It'll be an offer difficult for Barnes to refuse. However, he's got a good thing going at Texas. Going home is nice and all, but winning is even better. The Longhorns are the cream of the crop in the Big 12 while Barnes will forever play second or third fiddle to Duke and UNC if he goes to N.C. State.
Memphis' John Calipari. Gonzaga's Mark Few. Kentucky's Tubby Smith have been mentioned. Even Jim Larranaga of George Mason has been bandied about.
However, if Barnes does turn the eventual offer down, one possibility is Miami head coach Frank Haith, who grew up about an hour away in Burlington, N.C., graduated from in-state Elon College and worked for Barnes for three years. He was also an assistant at UNC-Wilmington and Wake Forest.
Haith has a lengthy track record as a recruiter. He was one of the best in the nation at Texas. He helped convince LaMarcus Aldridge and Daniel Gibson to remain in the state.
In two years as a head coach at Miami, he's done far more than anyone expected. In the program's first season in the ACC, the Hurricanes went 16-13 and 7-9 in conference play. This past year, Miami was 18-16 and 7-9 again in ACC play.
According to sources close to the situation, Haith has already been contacted by N.C. State. However, he is also being pursued by Oklahoma by their vacancy, created when Kelvin Sampson left for Indiana.
Creighton coach Dana Altman turns down a hefty offer for the Oklahoma job while Wichita State's Mark Turgeon remains a candidate.