Rice Likes "Versatility" of Coaching Staff

Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice's staff is complete after the school officially announced the hiring of Van Macon. The hire means Rutgers has proven recruiters in a number of hotbed areas along the I-95 corridor, and Rice talked about whether that was intentional or not. Versatility is a key part of Rice's goal, and he believes this staff has it. Find out what else the new Rutgers coach said.

Rutgers coach Mike Rice officially named Van Macon as his final bench assistant to complete the portion of his staff which will hit the recruiting road, and in the process put together a group with a recruiting expertise that runs the I-95 corridor through a number of talent-laden areas.

From associate head coach David Cox's strong Washington, D.C., ties from his time as an AAU coach to Macon's ties to New York City, there is a member of the staff respected in recruiting circles in many key areas for the Scarlet Knights.

"I'm huge into versatility,'' Rice told ScarletReport.com. "Whether it's playing versatility or coaching versatility, it's being able to be good at different things. I think this staff has it. We have a good mix between recruiting (and) on-the-floor teaching. This is a staff that has had a tremendous amount of success in college already.''

Rutgers' other assistant, Jimmy Martelli, who was with Rice at Robert Morris, possesses strong Philadelphia ties. His dad, Phil, is the long-time coach at St. Joseph's and Rice has recruited New Jersey well.

The ability to put together a staff with recruiting ties and success in recruiting the basketball hotbeds of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City was not an accident.

"That's something I was looking for,'' Rice said. "David has such strong ties to the mid-Atlantic, but he made connections when he was an AAU coach throughout the country. Jimmy Martelli, we had five fine student-athletes at Robert Morris from the Philadelphia region.

"Van Macon, I don't know if there is anyone stronger in that city with as many connections as he has. And then in New Jersey, that's where I've done very well at. We've kind of covered the area, certainly in that way, in recruiting.''

Rice also targeted assistants from successful programs. In three seasons at Georgetown and one as Pittsburgh's director of basketball operations, Cox saw those teams win go 96-40. Martelli was an assistant at Robert Morris under Rice, who went 73-31 in three seasons.

And Macon, who joined former Hofstra coach Tom Pecora at Fordham this spring, has 15 years of college coaching experience.

"Whether it's David Cox at Pitt and Georgetown,'' Rice said, "Van Macon …five of his last six years have been 20-win seasons, and Jimmy Martelli, even in a short period of time in Division II, he's been to the NCAA Tournament. This is a staff that brings a knowledge of how to be successful.''

The completion of the staff came last week, but paperwork and the school's hiring procedure delayed the announcement until Wednesday.

With the hiring process over, Rice acknowledged a unique pressure in putting the staff together.

"Just because of the pressures of how many people want to be on the staff,'' he said, "and the daily pressure of telling some of your closest friends who are some powerful people in the basketball world that you're going in a different direction. So, there's some pressure putting together a staff, no question.

"What you have to do is stick to the values of what you want your staff to represent. I think I've done that. It's maybe the hardest thing because I think it's so important and you have so many outside variables, outside pressures, it's a difficult process.''

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