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Ernie Kent's decision to remake his WSU staff is a reflection of 2017, not 2014

ERNIE KENT’S decision to remake his Washington State basketball staff seems to have generated one primary question among the crimson faithful (what great recruiters can he bring in?) and one secondary question (why didn’t he do it earlier?)

In terms of that first question, I made an initial foray to address it in this story the other day.

As for the second question, I have a few thoughts on why Greg Graham and Silvey Dominguez were hired in the first place and why Kent kept them for three seasons:

1) When Kent took the job three years ago, I think he saw young guys in the program like Josh Hawkinson, Ike Iroegbu and Que Johnson who needed polishing, and he also knew that his first recruiting class -- cobbled together in just six weeks -- would feature many rough-around-the-edges prospects. So given all that, he wanted a couple of assistant coaches who were proven at developing players and scouting opponents. Graham and Dominguez fit the bill – hard working, seasoned veterans whom Kent had a history with at Oregon and St. Mary's and trusted implicitly.

2) Needs and priorities change. Kent is a devotee of developing players – on and off the court – so that isn’t going to change. But now that the footings are planted, he needs all three of his full-time assistants – not just Curtis Allen – truly building relationships and blazing trails on the recruiting/mentoring fronts. Moreover, you can’t help but look around the Pac-12 and the rest of college basketball and see how schools are filling out their staffs with well-connected AAU coaches (and parents) in order to peel the recruiting onion a little differently. The landscape has changed and Kent is changing with it.

For Kent, the decision to go in a new direction was no doubt difficult because Graham and Dominguez are old friends as well as colleagues. At this stage of the program’s evolution, though, they aren’t the right people to help elevate matters to the next level.

Kent needs to find two guys who have coaching credentials, yes, but who also can make hay on the recruiting trail in notable ways. That's not say to say Graham and Dominguez weren't engaged in recruiting. They were. But right now, Kent needs people who are more than engaged.

He needs difference makers.


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