On spring game eve, we’re hitting all of the hottest hitting topics here at Land-Grant Holy Land. Which position groups should we keep an eye on this weekend? How does Devin Brown’s hand injury impact the starting quarterback battle? How do the young guys like Sonny Styles and Kye Stokes perform? And which former Ohio State basketball players are next in line to become head coaches?
Well, maybe you weren’t thinking of the last one... until now, of course.
During last week’s version of “You’re Nuts” we discussed sophomore guard Roddy Gayle. After a year of seasoning and a great showing in the Big Ten Tournament, are we okay to write him into the 2023-2024 starting lineup with a sharpie?
Connor said yes, while Justin said not necessarily.
56% of the voters from last week agreed with Connor that yes, Roddy Gayle should get the first hack at that staring two-guard spot come November — no if’s, and’s or but’s.
After 96 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
This week, we’re looking at all of the former Buckeyes currently working in the assistant coaching ranks and taking our picks of which one will be the next person to take a head coaching job.
Today’s Question: Which former Ohio State basketball player is next to become a head coach?
Connor: Scoonie Penn
With respect to guys like Andrew Dakich and Greg Oden, the former Ohio State hooper who will become a head coach next is none other than Scoonie Penn.
The now-46-year-old Penn played for Ohio State from 1998-2000, joining the 1000-point club in just two seasons. He was a second-round NBA Draft selection in 2000, but wound up spending his entire career overseas. Penn was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, and returned to work for the Buckeyes in 2017.
Penn was hired as Ohio State men’s basketball’s Director of Player Development before the 2017 season. He worked with student-athletes to ensure both on and off-court success, including helping at practice but also keeping an eye on things from an academic standpoint. Penn was never officially an assistant coach at Ohio State.
He then left Ohio State in 2019 to take an assistant coaching position for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, working under Taylor Jenkins. Penn is currently in his fourth season with Memphis, who are now in the playoffs.
Penn has made it clear being an assistant coach is not his final stop. He’d like to become a head coach somewhere — perhaps even at the college level. He’s also said that working in a front office in an important role could suit him. In April 2021, Penn told the Eagle Tribune in Andover, Massachusetts
“I’m comfortable where I am and think I’m in a good position to grow and learn and be involved in a lot of stuff. But I definitely want more,” said Penn. “Head coach is always the goal; maybe I’ll go back to college as a head coach at some point. But I’d also like to explore front office. Right now my focus is on where I am now and continuing to help build this team.”:
Penn has the experience of being at a large institution like Ohio State and now has the experience in the NBA as well. He can promote himself as someone who knows what it takes to make it in “the league” but is no stranger to recruiting and the travel that’s necessary to be great at the college level.
It’s a matter of when, not if, Scoonie Penn takes over his own program.
Justin: Andrew Dakich
This feels like the low-hanging fruit, but that is sometimes the best kind. Scoonie Penn is a solid pick, but he has an incredibly solid gig right now with the Grizzlies, and even though being a head coach is a step up no matter what, you wonder when or if he might make the jump back to college.
Dakich was going to be a head coach from the minute he had a basketball put in his hand. His father, Dan Dakich, was a collegiate basketball head coach for 11 seasons at Bowling Green University in the Mid-American Conference and also spent a small time as the interim head coach at Indiana after Kelvin Sampson.
Andrew has been a coach since he was in college. He was basically a bench coach during his undergraduate years at Michigan and when he was a grad transfer at Ohio State, he played solid minutes and was the clear floor general as the point guard. Not hard to tell he is a coach’s kid.
At Ohio State, he got his Master’s degree in Sports Coaching and was a graduate assistant and a program assistant for the Buckeyes.
After that, Dakich immediately joined Elon University as the Director of Basketball Operations, which is a really good job for someone of his age and his experience, obviously showing how good he is at his job. He was there for two years.
Once former Ohio State associate head coach Ryan Pedon took the head coaching job at Illinois State, Dakich joined the staff as a full-fledged assistant coach. He is already sitting on the top end of the bench for Pedon.
This one really does not take that much explaining. He was a coach on the floor, he got his degree in coaching, and every job he has had since college has been in coaching. He will be a head coach sooner than later; think Greg Paulus-career trajectory. And he will likely be a really good one.
Which assistant coach is going to become a head coach quicker?
This poll is closed
Scoonie Penn (Connor)
Andrew Dakich (Justin)