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.
Jason Hart, USC | The LA native and former Syracuse guard graduated in 2000 and played nearly a decade in the NBA. After retiring, he coached on the AAU circuit, was the head coach at Taft High and spent the 2013 campaign as an assistant at Pepperdine. Hart was hired by Andy Enfield in 2013 and was elevated to associate head coach in 2017.
“Jason Hart is the best assistant coach in the Pac-12. He’s a terrific recruiter, he is great at player development, he is an amazing teacher of lead guards, an outstanding practice coach and has a very high basketball IQ and makes great X and O suggestions.” – USC coach Andy Enfield
“Jason Hart carries himself professionally, reflects character and integrity, seems to enjoy his relationships with his players and has a great work ethic. It’s refreshing to see him do his job without a lot of self-promoting. He lets his pedigree, experience and actions speak for themselves.” – Pac-12 assistant
Darren Savino, UCLA | The 1989 St. Anthony grad played at Division III Jersey City College and began his career as a JV coach at Marist High in Bayonne, N.J. Savino was an administrative assistant at Seton Hall in 1995-96 and worked at St. John’s (1996-98) and East Carolina (1998-99). Savino spent three years at New Mexico (2000-02), worked at Quinnipiac (2002-04) and then coached at Murray State (2004-06) under Mick Cronin. After a four-year stint at Rutgers, Savino reunited with Cronin at Cincinnati and later followed him to UCLA in 2019.
“Coach Savino lives and breathes basketball, he cares about the players and men, and he is meticulous in his preparation at work. He also believes in teamwork as a staff. And while I am away or busy, he promotes staff camaraderie which has been a huge key to our success together.” – UCLA coach Mick Cronin
“Darren Savino is a guy that has worked real hard, has no agenda and has always got it done at every level he has been at. He definitely deserves to be a head coach!” – Pac-12 assistant
Rashon Burno, Arizona State | The former St. Anthony’s standout played at DePaul and started his coaching career as the head coach at Marmion Academy from 2007-10. His first college coaching job came in 2010 under his former coach, Pat Kennedy, at Towson. Burno was an assistant at Manhattan and Florida before joining ASU in 2015. He was named associate head coach in 2016.
“Rashon was the lead recruiter for our entire roster featuring many four- and five-star players. He has a natural ability to relate and build relationships with our players. Rashon brings fresh and innovative ideas to our player development program, practices and game preparation. His knowledge and understanding of his craft is superior and his work ethic and passion for the game are unmatched.” – Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley
“Rashon is involved in so many different aspects of their program — behind the scenes, he does so much. He is excellent in recruiting, can communicate with many different people and also is extremely intelligent on the court.” – Pac-12 assistant
Adam Cohen, Stanford | The Buffalo native graduated from Arizona in 2008 and served as a student manager and assistant video coordinator for Lute Olson at his alma mater. He was a graduate assistant at New Orleans, then the video coordinator and director of operations at USC (2010-12). Cohen then had assistant stints at Rice (2012-13), Harvard (2013-14) and Vanderbilt (2014-16). He’s been at Stanford since 2016, being elevated to associate head coach in 2018.
“Adam is the complete package. He is an elite recruiter and he loves learning about every aspect of the game. He is truly a rising star and I am lucky to have a chance to work beside him.” – Stanford coach Jerod Haase
“He’s shown a terrific ability to evaluate talent and cultivate relationships, and is also a very, very good skill developer.” – Pac-12 assistant
Tony Stubblefield, Oregon* | The former Bloomfield High (Colo.) star started his college playing career at Clinton Community College and then transferred to Omaha, where he graduated in 1995. Stubblefield was an assistant at Texas-San Antonio (1995-96), Texas-Arlington (1996-2000), New Mexico State (2000-06) and Cincinnati (2006-10). He’s been with Dana Altman at Oregon for the past decade.
“Tony has a great feel for the game, especially on the defensive end. He builds lasting relationships with players and their families. Outstanding recruiter, with a tremendous work ethic.” – Oregon coach Dana Altman
“Stubbs is a guy who has been doing it a long, long time. His biggest strength is his ability to recruit, but he can also coach and develop guys.” – Pac-12 assistant
Mike Rohn, Colorado* | The former McPherson College standout graduated in 1990 and was an assistant at his alma mater and then at Colby Community College (1990-91) before spending two years as a graduate assistant at Fort Hays State and three as an assistant at Dodge City Community College (1993-96). He was the head coach at Dodge City from 1996-2000, spent seven years (2000-07) as an assistant at Wichita State and then worked three as the director of basketball operations at Texas A&M (2007-10) before arriving in Boulder in 2010. He was elevated to associate head coach in 2017.
“Mike Rohn is the ultimate grinder. He is an everyday guy who can do it all. Recruit, teach, scout and builds relationships with the players as well. He is dependable and is as big a reason for the success of Colorado basketball over the past 10 years as anybody!” – Colorado coach Tad Boyle
“Mike is incredibly underrated. I don’t think enough people realize how good he is. He’s so versatile. He can recruit, evaluate, is great with people and can coach his ass off.” – Pac-12 assistant
*Two-way tie for fifth place.