Name: Mike Anderson
Current job: Unemployed
Previous jobs: Head coach Arkansas, Head coach Missouri, Head coach Alabama-Birmingham, Assistant Arkansas, Assistant Tulsa
Career head coaching record (conference record): 369-200 (163-121)
NCAA Tournament Appearances (record): 9 (9-9)
Evidence of recruiting skills: DeMarre Carrol was his nephew, sure, but Anderson has had a long string of strong recruits and players who improved under him — Bobby Portis, Moses Kingsley, Daniel Gafford. Jimmy Whitt, and others.
Items of interest: Mike Anderson, who coached under Nolan Richardson (including the National Championship Arkansas won in the 1990s), has won nearly 65% of his games overall and 57% of his games. He quickly turned around a Missouri team that struggled and was under investigation during Quin Snyder’s years. He also played for Nolan Richardson at Tulsa.
Anderson has made one Elite Eight and one Sweet Sixteen in 17 years.
On court: Mike Anderson’s teams borrow from Nolan Richardson’s style — fast, aggressive, high defensive pressure basketball. Not always the best at shooting, Anderson’s teams have been solid from outside the arc if middling inside the arc.
These teams win the turnover battle, forcing miscues and handling the ball well in most situations. Anderson’s teams crash the offensive glass, block shots, and sometimes foul a bit too much.
When slowed down and/ or when facing equivalent athletes, the Arkansas teams sometimes ran into trouble; half court sets were not always crisp.
Why he’d be a good fit: Has won a lot. Brings a distinct style and experience which would be sale-able. Experienced on the floor in tough conferences and in the NCAA Tournament. Anderson was fired for a failure to consistently compete for conference and national championships, but his teams won, got to the tournament; the pressure would be less at Arkansas.
Why it wouldn’t work: Anderson lacks ties to New York, having grown up in Alabama and having been long associated with Arkansas. He will need a New York staff. Will fans expect too much from such a big name? Can he deliver? Does he want to coach?
What’s getting in the way: Is this legitimate? How much money will he command? His buyout pays him $1M/ year from Arkansas, but that figure can be reduced with income from his next job.
And does he seem like a coach who wants to and needs to be part of this New York scene, given the recent dramas? Hard to know.
Final word: Intriguing. I’d give it a 30% chance of happening.