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.
Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga | The 1993 Kelso High (Wash.) product attended Walla Walla CC for two years and then graduated from Whitman College in 1998. Lloyd played a couple years overseas before joining Mark Few’s staff in 2000 as a volunteer. He was promoted to assistant coach the next season.
“Tommy has been with us for over 20 years, starting as a volunteer assistant to his current position as head-coach-in-waiting. He has had an enormous impact on our program and has played a huge role in our ascension to being a Top 10 program. The best international recruiter in the game, but has also evolved into an elite-level tactician and game manager. Tommy is the real deal and Gonzaga has been fortunate to have him — and as its future leader of the program.” – Gonzaga coach Mark Few
“One of the best in the business. Has proven it time and time again. Could recruit to anywhere in the country. Hard to believe there is a more connected coach in the country when it comes to recruiting nationally. His international ties are second to none and continue to bring in top-level talent each year, but he can also really coach. They rank tops in the country every year in offensive and defensive efficiency and I know Tommy plays a big role in that. He has helped build their program into one of the very best in college basketball.” – WCC assistant
Marcus Schroeder, Saint Mary’s | The former De La Salle standout played four seasons at Princeton and graduated in 2010. He then spent two seasons as a grad assistant and video coordinator at Saint Mary’s before being promoted to director of basketball operations in 2014. He was elevated to assistant coach by Randy Bennett in 2015.
“High-level, young associate head coach that has a great understanding of the game and the business at an early age.” – Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett
“Has been raised in Randy Bennett’s Saint Mary’s system and he checks all the boxes for what Randy wants and needs as an assistant coach. He’s as professional as they come, understands the game at a high level and develops deep relationships with his players. Saint Mary’s culture is something to be respected, and they continue to win each year at a high level.” – WCC assistant
Kevin Hovde, San Francisco | The Kennett Square, Pa. native spent four seasons at Richmond (2006-11) as a player. Hovde joined Kyle Smith’s staff at Columbia as the director of basketball operations in 2011-12 and was promoted to assistant coach prior to the 2012-13 campaign. He spent four years at Columbia as an assistant before going with Smith to USF in 2016.
“Kevin has been an integral part of the success we’ve experienced at the University of San Francisco over the past four years. His on-court coaching ability is truly exceptional. He has a great offensive basketball mind and he is well-respected by the players, administration and his peers. He will be a Division I head coach very soon.” – USF coach Todd Golden
“Kevin runs the offense at USF and every year finds a way to tweak to his personnel for efficiency. He just does a great job. Period.” – WCC assistant
Brian Michaelson, Gonzaga | Michaelson played at Jesuit High in Portland and then at Gonzaga, where he graduated in 2005. He worked in real estate development for a few years after graduation before becoming an administrative assistant at his alma mater in 2008. He was the assistant director of basketball operations in 2011 and elevated to assistant in 2013.
“The most underrated assistant in the game. B-Mike played for us back in the day, and his best friend, Ronny Turiaf, called him the smartest man in the world. Since becoming a full-time assistant, he has rapidly developed into one of the best recruiters in the game. He has an incredible ability to communicate and connect with players and families. Exceptional at player development and game prep, Brian is the total package with a great future in the profession!” – Gonzaga coach Mark Few
“He’s a guy that doesn’t get a ton of credit because of Mark Few and Tommy Lloyd, but he knows what Gonzaga needs and recruits the right guys for Few and that program. He’s just someone who gets it — from every angle.” – WCC assistant
Ken Bone, Pepperdine* | The Seattle native graduated from Seattle Pacific in 1983 and later became the head coach at Olympic CC and Cal State Stanislaus. Bone was an assistant (1986-90) and then the head coach at Seattle Pacific from 1990-2002, and then was an assistant at Washington from 2002-05 before getting the head job at Portland State (2005-09). Bone was the head coach at Washington State from 2009-14 before spending two years as the associate head coach at Montana (2014-16), one season as the special assistant to Mark Few at Gonzaga and then reuniting with Lorenzo Romar at Pepperdine in 2018.
“Ken has an outstanding feel for what I want as the head coach. He was a successful head coach at the college level for many years. He’s a great teacher of the game. His overall experience in the game has been very impactful to our program.” – Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar
“Ken’s a seasoned veteran. Has done and seen almost everything. Consummate pro. Very good on the court, and a really good evaluator as well.” – WCC assistant
Scott Garson, Santa Clara* | Garson graduated from UCSB in 1999, spent one season as the video coordinator at Pepperdine and five seasons at Utah (1999-2004), as a grad assistant, video coordinator and then an assistant for his final season with the Utes. Garson was at UCLA from 2004-13 and then was the head coach at the College of Idaho for five seasons before coming to Santa Clara in 2018.
“Coach Garson is the complete and total package as a coach. He has helped lead UCLA to multiple Final Fours, and as a head coach, led the College of Idaho to the NAIA Final Four with 30-plus wins. He has a wealth of experience, having worked for Rick Majerus and Ben Howland, as well as run his own program. As a coach, he is a tremendous leader, teacher, motivator and communicator. He excels on the practice floor, in the film room, with player relationships and in recruiting. He is outstanding with schemes, strategy, game preparation and in-game adjustments. We are fortunate to have Coach Garson together with us at Santa Clara, and expect him to be a Division I head coach in the near future.” – Santa Clara coach Herb Sendek
“Scott does a great job game-planning and [is] very good schematically. Santa Clara does a good job of taking opponents’ strengths away from them offensively and I believe Scott plays a huge part in that.” – WCC assistant
Cody Fueger, BYU* | Fueger graduated from Utah in 2006, where he was a manager, a student assistant and video coordinator. He worked as the director of basketball operations at Louisiana Tech from 2007-11. He then went to UC Riverside as the DOBO for a year, left to Utah State for a year in the same role and then went to BYU as the director of basketball operations from 2013-15. Fueger worked at Utah Valley as an assistant coach from 2015-19 before following Mark Pope to BYU as an assistant.
“It’s hard to think of anything that Cody doesn’t do for our program. He is a players-first coach with the ability to develop deep and lasting and trusting relationships with our players. He is a first-class, relentless recruiter with connections all over the world. He is respected at every level of basketball for his player development acumen and his insightful and innovative offensive and defensive schematics. His attention to detail and work ethic are exceptional. He also knows how to point me in the right direction when I get sideways. Cody makes everything in our program better. He is going to be a big-time head coach soon.” – BYU coach Mark Pope
“Cody was instrumental in bringing Jake Toolson to BYU and was helpful in convincing Yoeli Childs to come back to school. That allowed them to be one of the best teams in the league. He is also in charge of their offense, which was very difficult to prepare for.” – WCC assistant
*Three-way tie for fifth place.