With the appointment of Alvin Williamson to the Texas Tech basketball staff, Tubby Smith shored up his forces on the Texas recruiting front, while extending his connections into the Midwest. Williamson, an Oklahoma native, had coached at Texas A&M, SMU and most recently, TCU. But he also spent time with coach Mark Turgeon at Wichita State and recruited the Midwest heavily.
Joe Esposito, Smith's second hire, has a similar if slightly more eastward oriented resume.
Esposito's Texas ties are proximate and quite extensive. Hence, he was head coach at Angelo State for eight seasons, and he enjoyed some success there. Esposito's teams had five straight winning seasons, a streak of success attained only one other time in school history. And although Esposito's final season in San Angelo featured far more losses than wins, he left the Angelo State program as one of the most winning coaches in Lone Star Conference history.
Over the course of those seasons, Esposito established real connections within the Texas high school ranks. According to Esposito himself, six or seven of his former ASU players are currently coaching in the state, as are two of his previous assistant coaches. And obviously, Esposito personally established many relationships with Texas high school coaches in the course of recruiting the state. Esposito's final season in San Angelo was 2006, so a great many of his Lone Star connections should remain fresh, active and should pay dividends on the recruiting trail.
But as much as Esposito will solidify Tubby Smith's position in Texas, he may also give Tech a presence in the talent-rich bulrushes east of the Mississippi. He was born in the Bronx, New York, graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and obtained his first coaching position at Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park, New York.
Greater New York City is to basketball recruiting what Texas is to football prospects. If Esposito, in tandem with Smith, can help Tech make inroads into the Big Apple, Tech's recruiting could be boosted significantly.
Esposito also spent seven seasons as an assistant at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. And while Boston is not quite the basketball hotbed New York is, there are certainly players that come out of that city. It has been some time (18 years, to be precise) since Esposito coached in Massachusetts, but he certainly knows the terrain. Perhaps that knowledge will pay off with a recruit or two.
Esposito's other stints were at Tennessee State in Nashville, and one season as a high school coach in The Villages, Florida. With any luck, Esposito will help Tech tap into a Memphis basketball scene that has been rich with talent since the early 80s. The Villages is located near Orlando, Ocala and Kissimmee; players can be found there, too.
So while people will definitely look at Esposito and Williamson as hired guns for Texas recruiting, one should also keep in mind what they may bring to the table in other parts of the country. Sometimes it may be easier to beat out St. John's, Boston College, the University of Memphis, or Florida State for a player, than it is to outduel the University of Texas.