Hey Syracuse fans, remember Mike Hopkins? Hop was an assistant coach for Syracuse Men’s Basketball from 1995-2017. He was the one that filled in for Boeheim during the 2015-2016 season and was given the “Coach-In-Waiting” title. Now, Hopkins is the head coach at Washington and in his fourth season there. Remember him? Okay, good.
Before Hopkins took the Washington job, many believed he was going to be the next head coach at SU. He was first in line once Jim Boeheim retired, but that was taking too long, so he decided to start anew on the west coast. Even to this day, people still think he will come back and be the next HC, but here’s the question– does Syracuse even want him back at this point?
Hopkins began pretty darn well at Washington. Through his first two seasons, the Huskies went 48-22 and won an NCAA Tournament game. Plus, Hop brought in a top-10 recruiting class in 2019. However, in the last two years, Washington is just 18-31 overall and 7-23 in the Pac-12. To add insult to injury, the Huskies are only 3-16 this season. That’s just not good enough.
So, now we go back to the question at hand– does Syracuse even want Hopkins back at this point? Would he be a good choice for Boeheim’s successor?
If we want to go to the numbers, it’s not great for Hopkins. Taking a broad look, the records aren’t great. They would, presumably, even worse if it was the ACC. When you get into the nitty-gritty, it’s also not fun. Under Hopkins, Washington has been in the bottom-50 every year in allowing offensive rebounds, which is obviously one of Syracuse’s biggest weaknesses. The Huskies have also turned the ball over every year at an alarming rate, which points to undisciplined teams and bad coaching.
There is one statistic that supports Hopkins, which Syracuse fans should already know about. His Washington teams have been fantastic defensively. Other than this year, the Huskies have been a top-75 defensive team per KenPom, including two seasons in the top-50. Hopkins proved to be a great defensive mind at Syracuse and is doing the same at Washington.
Another pro for Hopkins is his recruiting ability. When he was with the Orange, he was easily the best recruiter on the staff. For the most part, Syracuse was churning out top-25 recruiting classes every year with Hop. Since his departure, SU hasn’t matched those numbers and is consistently in the back-half of the ACC. Hopkins’s recruiting prowess is really the only enticing thing for him to come back to Syracuse.
Boeheim will most likely stick around for a couple more seasons, which means if Hopkins continues his losing ways at Washington, his chances at being the next Syracuse head coach may be zilch. I’m hesitant to say he doesn’t have a chance right now, just because of how much Central New York loves Hop, but they aren’t looking good.
Do you want Mike to come back and be the next head coach? Tweet us (@OrangeFizz) your thoughts!