The process was needlessly painful
First lets get the obvious thing that most people here would agree with.
This was as Mark Alnutt’s first chance to shine at Buffalo and he really shanked it. Even if Whitesell takes Buffalo back to the top 25 next year the following question will remain.
Why did it take you so long a process to hire Whitesell? Were you not confident in him so you hired a search firm? did you come up empty on a national search so went safe?
I get that 10 days, while an eternity to fans, is a pretty standard span for hiring a head coach but the drama around this whole situation was painful to watch.
At the end of the day you didn’t need a national search, you didn’t need the Bryan Hodgeson drama, and you didn’t need to wait ten days to hire someone who was the interim coach before Nate Oats’ plane even departed for Alabama.
All that being said...
I like the hire
I’ve been banging the drum for an internal hire from day one. I fully acknowledge I could be wrong and my knee jerk reaction to hiring from the outside is not entirely a healthy thing.
Whitesell will deliver the continuity both with player relationships and with the system of basketball that UB fans have come to love. It’s looks to be a good hire.
My first choice would have been Hodgson but honestly his behavior in the first week, which included flying around clad in crimson with Nate Oats, makes me think I was off and he’s not ready.
You simply can’t be telling the Buffalo News how much you want to coach at Buffalo out of one side of your mouth while saying “roll tide” to five star recruits out the other side.
Whitesell’s Job 1
The first thing he needs to do is bring the players together and establish some trust with them.
The way Nate Oats reportedly left was painful. Whitesell is well liked by the team and he can do a lot to hold together what could be a very potent UB team. Losing the seniors we did this season meant next year was going to be developmental but with so many solid underclassmen this is a Buffalo team that could be playing for the MAC title again very quickly.
If Whitesell holds them together.
Whitesell’s Job 2
When Reggie Witherspoon was fired Shannon Evans decided to not commit to UB. Upon being hired Bobby Hurley took a trip down to Evans home and “re-recruited” him. That’s what Whitesell needs to be doing next week, even before he worries about his staff.
Get out there and try to repull some of the players who left.
Whitesell’s Job 3
He needs to go out there and build up his staff. Oat’s took Hodgson and I’m not entirely sure he’s done poaching. Whitesell would do well to go find someone young who can recruit to balance out his own experience.
I’m guessing that soon there will be movement in all three of these areas. And how Whitesell navigates them may be the difference between a 20(ish) win UB team next year and a total program rebuild.