Former Gophers assistant Rob Jeter, who accepted the job as Western Illinois coach last week, was officially announced to his new duties Monday by the school.
Jeter had been on Minnesota’s staff for the last two seasons, including on the NCAA tournament team in 2019. Jeter was previously the head coach at UW Milwaukee from 2005-16.
Richard Pitino has lost three assistants in the last two years, including both Ben Johnson (Xavier) and Kimani Young (Connecticut) in 2018. His staff currently includes Kyle Lindsted and Ed Conroy, his longest tenured assistant.
The Gophers have two scholarships still to use in the 2020 class, so they likely won’t take long to hire Jeter’s replacement to help them during the spring recruiting period.
Obviously, Pitino will look to hire somebody that is the right fit with Conroy and Lindsted, but he needs a big man to replace All-American Daniel Oturu. The Gophers could also benefit from hiring someone with local ties.
Here are possible assistant coach candidates with ties to Minnesota (in alphabetic order):
Gameli Ahelegbe, South Dakota – Ahelegbe has been on South Dakota's staff for four seasons and spent three seasons at North Dakota prior to that. Was on the Coyotes staff when they upset the Gophers at the Barn in 2015-16. Former club director and trainer at 43Hoops AAU program in Minnesota. Played at Minnesota State and briefly in the ABA.
Kyle Green, Northern Iowa – Green, a Minneapolis native, is an associate head coach for Ben Jacobson at Northern Iowa. He’s spent 15 seasons on the Panthers coaching staff. A 1992 Hamline graduate, his son, A.J., was the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year as a sophomore guard this season.
Al Harris, D1 Minnesota – Harris is head coach for D1 Minnesota, one of the top AAU programs in the country. Among the players he coached and trained in recent years, includes McDonald’s All-Americans Dawson Garcia and Matthew Hurt, Colorado star McKinley Wright and current Gophers target Kerwin Walton. He’s the general manager at Drive Athletics, a sports training company located in Edina.
Jeff Mailhot, formerly Iona – Mailhot was in his first season as an assistant at Iona in 2019-20, but head coach Tim Cluess resigned and was replaced by Rick Pitino earlier this month. The Minneapolis native spent two seasons as an assistant at New Mexico State and had stints at Odessa College and Midland College in Texas. As a high school assistant locally, Mailhot coached at Hopkins and Cooper.
Jared Nuness, Baylor – Nuness has spent the last 10 seasons on Scott Drew's staff with the Bears, including in his third season as special assistant to the head coach and director of player personnel. The former Valparaiso and Hopkins player was a head coach locally at Bloomington Kennedy and Park Center. He helped Baylor land four-star big man Dain Dainja from Park Center this year.
Darryl Sharp, Hampton – Sharp has been the associate head coach at Hampton for 10 seasons, going to three NCAA tournaments. The father of former Gophers walk-on and Hopkins guard Stephon Sharp. His high-major experience includes as an Iowa State assistant and former director of basketball for Denny Crum at Louisville. Coached AAU and high school ball in Minnesota, including for Washburn and Breck.
Larry Suggs, Grassroots Sizzle – Head coach of Grassroots Sizzle AAU program, which has Gophers targets Chet Holmgren and Prince Aligbe. Suggs, the father of McDonald’s All-American and Gonzaga five-star recruit Jalen Suggs, is also an assistant at Minnehaha Academy, one of the top high school teams in the nation.
Dave Thorson, Colorado State – Thorson is a former Gophers assistant under Clem Haskins, a position which gave him a chance to return to the college game 20 years later a couple years ago. Niko Medved, a former U manager under Haskins, hired Thorson at Drake. The longtime championship coach at DeLaSalle then followed Medved to the Rams.