Eric Musselman has been scouring throughout the country to lure names to Nevada — no, not incoming recruits, but his coaching staff.
Musselman filled out his staff over the last week, spanning coast-to-coast from Cal State Northridge to Fort Wayne to Cleveland to Delaware.
First on the list was Doug Stewart of the Delaware 87ers, the NBA’s Development League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers.
“It is an honor to be a part of The University of Nevada Wolf Pack family and the renowned men’s basketball program,” Stewart said in a press release. “I look forward to working hand in hand with Coach Musselman and returning the program to lofty heights.”
Stewart has Ivy League makeup. A former player at Brown until graduating in 1994, Stewart earned his stripes coaching at Brown and Columbia. Stewart’s career turned 180 degrees when he joined Oregon State’s staff in 2008.
While with the Beavers, Stewart was known for his recruiting chops, but even became interim head coach in 2014. It was Stewart’s knack for recruiting that peaked Musselman’s interest.
“His experience as a former associate head coach in the Pac-12 and as a recruiting coordinator fits perfectly with the culture we want to establish,” Musselman said in a press release. “He has great energy and passion for the game. Spending this past season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers organization as an assistant with the Delaware 87ers in the NBA Development League adds another outstanding part to his impressive coaching resume.”
As a first-time NCAA coach and new to the college game, many questioned if Musselman had the recruiting edge to lure players to the Wolf Pack. Stewart will help alleviate those questions.
So does newly-hired coach Jay Morris, who comes from Cal State Northridge — the recruiting hotbed of Southern California.
“Jay was highly recommended by CSUN head coach Reggie Theus,” Musselman said in a release. “He is known for being a tireless worker and has great recruiting ties in California.”
Morris spent five seasons with the Matadors as an assistant coach. Beforehand, Morris spent two seasons as Long Beach State’s Director of Operations.
“The position that I now occupy at the University of Nevada was a highly coveted position by a number of respected coaches all across the country,” Morris said in a release. “I am truly honored that Coach Musselman trusted in me to be a part of the Wolf Pack family. I’m ready to get to work and my wife and I are excited to embrace the Reno community.”
The third piece to Musselman’s coaching staff is director of operations Anthony Ruta. Akin to Stewart, Ruta has NBA D-League experience, coaching the Fort Wayne Mad Ants last season.
Before his stint in Fort Wayne, Ruta was a graduate assistant at Arizona State — where he crossed paths with Musselman. His duties included scouting, game planning, scheduling and summer camps, among others.
“I worked with him at Arizona State and we spoke then about working together in the future,” Musselman said. “He is a tireless worker and has a great mind for organization. Anthony will be a great asset to the Wolf Pack basketball family.”
Musselman completed his staff with Jermaine Kimbrough yesterday. Kimbrough has spent the past nine seasons at Cleveland State University — including four postseason appearances. Current Pelicans guard Norris Cole credits Kimbrough for his success.
“Coach Kimbrough has played a huge part in my player development; always had the ability to recruit talent and relate to recruit,” Norris said in a press release. “He also understands that there’s more to life than basketball. He will be a great addition for your staff.”
While Musselman hasn’t positioned each of the coaches’ exact roles, the four-man group has roots throughout the country.
Eric Uribe can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @Uribe_Eric.