Dominic James is back. So are Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. But there seems to be a new buzz around the Milwaukee campus. But it’s not too hard to pinpoint, it’s new head coach Buzz Williams.
An assistant last year for now-Indiana coach Tom Crean, Williams took over the helm of the Golden Eagles last spring and quickly experienced some turbulence.
Alumni and fans questioned the move, wondering if the little known life-time assistant had the cache to recruit big-time players or was experienced enough to coach in the rough and tumble Big East.
The answer to the first question has been unclear. Almost immediately after being named head man, Marquette’s top recruit Tyshawn Taylor expressed his desire to de-commit. Unable to make Taylor change his mind again, the guard ended up in Kansas. But the Class of 2009 is looking at Williams more favorably. He has earned a verbal commitment from Rivals.com’s 10th best recruit Junior Cadougan, a point guard who fill the job that will be wide open after James graduates and was supposed to be filled by Taylor.
As for the second question. Well its too early too tell. Williams has only one year of head coaching experience, in 2006-07 with New Orleans. That season did not go so well for the Privateers, as they finished 14-17, but nonetheless an improvement over the 10-19 mark the year prior.
So what is the final decision on the new hire? Who knows. But vindication for Williams or his haters might come quickly as the Eagles face a tough early stretch that will see Wisconsin visit and trips to Tennessee and North Carolina State on the schedule, before opening conference play against Villanova.
SI’s Luke Winn takes an inside look at what makes Buzz Williams tick