If things are right in the world, BYU assistant coach Dave Rice will be hired by UNLV by Monday. He interviewed for the Rebel job on Thursday and his main competitor for the job, Reggie Theus, will interview Friday.
If Rice goes, nobody in Provo will be happier than his current boss Dave Rose. No question, Rose will hate to lose Rice, but as a head coach, he is doing what head coaches are supposed to do and try everything they can to forward the careers of their assistants.
I believe Rose has pushed for UNLV to hire Rice because he believes he is the best man for the job. In talking to many in the Las Vegas media, they also agree. Rice has a reputation as a smart coach, a classy guy, a gentlemen and would make the transition from Lon Kruger really easy because he is a lot like him.
There are other points in favor of Rice.
His brother Grant is the head coach at nearby Bishop Gorman, who has a trio of highly recruited prospects.
Rice can coach the fast-paced transition game BYU has been so successful with and the kind of offense UNLV fans expect out of their Rebels.
Rice is more familiar with the MWC than Theus or the other candidates that include former Oregon coach Ernie Kent and current St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap.
Rice has more experience coaching the Rebel program already — more than any of the other guys. He knows where the locks and keys are to the buildings, so to speak.
Rice knows MWC coaches, players and recruits. He knows their strengths and their weaknesses, their arenas, their fans, their media and travel issues. He is just coming from working with one of the top young coaches in America in Rose.
I think it is a no brainer.
So, what would Rose do?
Well, he could elevate everybody on the staff, move them all upwards with different roles and replace director of operations Mike Hall with another former player. If he did that, I’d hire another former Cougar, somebody like Travis Hansen or even Jackson Emery, who talks like a coach and really understands the game.
Hansen isn’t through playing yet, however, and Emery is more likely to go to law school or become an accountant — or both.
Heath Schroyer is available. Austin Ainge might be approachable to leave his post as a head coach at an NBA minor league team in Portland, Maine.
What Rose really needs is to find himself a Brandon Doman-like recruiter, a real closer and presenter. He might want to look at finding a high school coach and giving him a chance. A guy like Lone Peak’s Quincy Lewis.
I don’t think he could go wrong in hiring his son Garrett, a great guy, super organized leader type, a guy I think would like to get into coaching by taking on a task like director of basketball operations, a job that Hall currently holds.
Rose told the media today he really loves the chemistry on his staff right now. He is a believer in furthering any of their careers and helping them advance.
It will be interesting to see what happens if Rice leaves. And I think he will.