In this series, we’ll be giving props to some of the best assistants in college basketball.
For each conference, I polled at least 20 coaches (primarily assistants) and asked for them to name the top assistant coaches in their respective league. Is it a perfect way of determining the elite assistants? Maybe not, but it seems far more accurate than any other method.
I’ve also made sure to include some info on each coach that’s recognized — as well as quotes from both their boss and another assistant in the league.
Kyle Green, UNI | The Minneapolis native played at Hamline and graduated in 1992. He began his coaching career as a player/coach of the Frederica Basketball Club in Denmark, then became an assistant at Hamline from 1993-95. Green was an assistant at Southwest Minnesota State (1995-97), Augustana (1997-2000) and the head coach at Western State College in 2000-01. He was an assistant at Marquette in 2003-04, head coach at Lewis University in 2004-06 and spent one season in 2011-12 as the head coach at Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is in his third stint as an assistant at UNI (2001-03, 2006-11 and 2012-current).
“Kyle has a big personality and is a big-time relationship builder. I believe he is one of the best recruiters in the country. He has also been a head coach, which allows him to bring that perspective to our program. He’s got a great enthusiasm for the game, the guys, our staff — fun to be around! He’s a head coach with an associate head coach title.” – UNI coach Ben Jacobson
“Kyle is an all-around good dude. Right-hand man to one of the best, if not the best, coach[es] in the league. Develops talent, and his son, AJ, is also the best player in [the] league. Kyle is the consummate professional. Recruits, schedules, prepares at a high level.” – Missouri Valley assistant
Drew Valentine, Loyola Chicago | The Lansing native played at Oakland and then spent two years as a graduate manager at Michigan State — where his brother, Denzel, played. Drew then went to Oakland for two seasons as an assistant before joining Porter Moser’s staff at Loyola in 2017.
“Drew has an amazing energy about himself that he brings every day in every facet of the job! When he’s around, the temperature of the room goes up. He also has such a drive and passion to study the game. Outstanding on-floor coach that communicates as good as I have seen, and a grinder recruiter.” – Loyola Chicago coach Porter Moser
“Drew is one of the best young coaches in college basketball, and has been a part of the most successful basketball era in Loyola’s history.” – Missouri Valley assistant
P.J. Hogan, UNI | The Dubuque, Iowa native played at Morningside College in Sioux City and graduated in 1999. He was an assistant at Wayne State in 1999-2000, North Dakota State in 2000-01 and at Southwest State in 2001-03. He has been at UNI since 2003.
“P.J. is relentless! He attacks everything with great passion: recruiting, player development, game prep [and] practice sessions. He never lets up. He has been terrific recruiting the state of Iowa. P.J. is loyal and he loves hoops. He continues to be a driving force for us.” – UNI coach Ben Jacobson
“P.J. is a mainstay on Ben’s staff. He’s a very good recruiter, especially in-state where the bulk of their team comes from. He just goes about his business and gets things done.” – Missouri Valley assistant
Kareem Richardson, Indiana State | He began his playing career at East Carolina and then transferred to Evansville, where he graduated in 1997. His coaching career began at the University of Indianapolis (1997-99) and included stops at Indiana State (1999-2002), Wright State (2002-03), Evansville (2003-07), UMKC (2007-08), Drake (2008-11), Xavier (2011-12) and Louisville (2012-13). Richardson came to Indiana State in 2019 after six seasons as the head coach at UMKC (2013-19).
“Kareem is a head coach. He’s outstanding at all aspects of the job, energetic and analytical, tremendous with the players. A great guy to be around every day.” – Indiana State coach Greg Lansing
“He’s a guy who can obviously recruit, he has so many relationships from all his years, and now you add in the fact that he’s been a head coach. Great versatility.” – Missouri Valley assistant
Drew Adams, Bradley* | The Bloomington South product began his coaching career as a student assistant at Tennessee. He graduated in 2009 and spent two years on Tom Crean’s staff at Indiana. Adams then went to New Mexico for four years before arriving at Bradley and working with Brian Wardle.
“Drew is a high-energy, passionate coach who absolutely loves the game of basketball. He is loyal, hard-working and great at relationship building, which makes him an elite recruiter. He is so good at the little things and details that go into making a head coach’s life easier.” – Bradley coach Brian Wardle
“Great recruiter. Known nationwide as a guy who gets guys and prepares them for the next level. Much of the recent success [for Bradley] has been due to his hard work. Drew has really helped Coach Wardle build the Bradley program from five wins to two NCAA Tournament appearances.” – Missouri Valley assistant
Matt Gordon, Loyola Chicago* | The 2006 Illinois State grad grinded as a video coordinator at his alma mater, working for Porter Moser. Gordon was also an intern for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2007-08 and then worked as the director of basketball operations at Saint Louis (where Moser was an assistant) from 2008-11 before joining Moser at Loyola in 2011.
“Matt has been with me for 16 years. He has meticulous attention to detail and is one of the best ‘get it done’ guys I have ever been around. His work ethic and loyalty are as high as they come.” – Loyola Chicago coach Porter Moser
“Matt has been able to wear a number of different hats effectively for Porter. He prepares the offensive scout for every team along with also doing so many of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ jobs that go unnoticed.” – Missouri Valley assistant
Matt Woodley, Drake* | The Des Moines native started for three seasons at Drake and graduated in 2000. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Wayne State (2000-01), then was an assistant at Denver (2001-04), Middle Tennessee (2004-06) and Washington State (2006-09). Woodley then returned home to coach the Waukee High program for two seasons before taking over at D-2 Truman State for three years. He was the head coach of the Iowa Energy in the G League in 2016-17 before serving as a special assistant at Pittsburgh. Woodley came back to Drake in 2018.
“Matt brings a tremendous amount of experience to our staff. He’s coached at every level, both as an assistant and a head coach. His energy and passion for the game is incredible, and it’s on display every day as he works at developing our players!” – Drake coach Darian DeVries
“Matt is a great basketball mind that guides many of the on-court decisions. He’s been around for a long time and just impacts winning in so many ways.” – Missouri Valley assistant
*Three-way tie for fifth place.