Syracuse Basketball: Diving into what Adrian Autry may look for in GMac's replacement

Gerry McNamara is off to lead Siena, and we look at what Adrian Autry may look for in candidates to ultimately replace GMac.
Gerry McNamara is off to lead Siena, and we look at what Adrian Autry may look for in candidates to ultimately replace GMac. / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With Syracuse basketball associate head coach Gerry McNamara off to be the new head coach of Siena, the Orange now will conduct a search to fill the void left by GMac on the team's coaching staff.

Over the past 10 days or so, rumors had circulated on social media, along with various media reports, stating that Siena officials were interested in McNamara to potentially become their next head coach after parting ways earlier this month with former head coach Carmen Maciariello after five campaigns leading the Saints, a school in Loudonville, N.Y., near Albany, that resides in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference ("MAAC").

On Friday, Siena officials announced what we all figured would be coming - McNamara has been named the team's head coach.

So now Adrian Autry, who in his first year at the helm of the Orange led the squad to 20 regular-season wins for the first time in a decade, is tasked with finding another assistant coach. Needless to say, 'Cuse fans are anxious and eager to hear who that next assistant may end up being.

What might Adrian Autry look for in a new Syracuse basketball assistant coach to replace Gerry McNamara?

Let's provide some context. The Orange's two other assistant coaches are former Syracuse basketball player Allen Griffin and Brenden Straughn, who just finished up his first year as a 'Cuse assistant after most recently serving in a similar role at George Washington.

Griffin has deep recruiting ties in and around New York City and throughout the Empire State. Straughn has extensive recruiting connections in another hotbed for the 'Cuse, the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and stretching to Baltimore.

Might Autry promote Griffin to associate head coach? Perhaps. Griffin has been primarily working with the Syracuse basketball big men. McNamara worked with the team's guards. Could Griffin move over to focus on the Orange's guards, with Autry finding a new assistant to work with the squad's big men? Perhaps. Only time will tell there.

Within the Syracuse basketball family, some names I've seen floated by fellow 'Cuse fans to potentially keep an eye out for regarding the assistant-coaching vacancy include Wake Forest assistant Demetris Nichols and Jason Hart, a former assistant at Southern California who most recently led the NBA's G League Ignite.

The NBA is shutting down the G League Ignite. I've seen a few speculative comments on social media suggesting that Hart could be a candidate for USC's head-coaching position, as reports have stated that the Trojans' head coach, Andy Enfield, is likely headed to future Atlantic Coast Conference member SMU to lead that program.

Other names I've seen mentioned by Orange fans include Ryan Blackwell, Carmelo Anthony (not going to happen) and Eric Devendorf.

I'm fascinated to see if Autry ultimately decides to stay within the 'Cuse family or looks outside the program, much as he did with Straughn.

If he looks outside the Syracuse basketball family, I assume he'll want to bring in a coach from a high-major or mid-major program who not only excels in player development, but also in the recruiting arena (i.e, a big-time AAU rolodex).

I believe that the current 'Cuse staff has got the New York and New Jersey areas covered, along with the DMV. But what about other key markets along the Northeast corridor, such as the Philadelphia region, or even other states like Florida and Ohio, among others?

Syracuse basketball coaches, led by Autry and Straughn, have major connections to the Washington-based Team Takeover in Nike’s EYBL league, for example. Another AAU juggernaut that comes to mind is the Philadelphia-based Team Final on the EYBL circuit.

In recent years, the Orange has pursued numerous guys who played for Team Final. Might Autry target a new assistant coach who has strong relationships with Team Final or other AAU programs that are, geographically, a focus for the 'Cuse?

Another thing to possibly monitor is whether Autry may look at candidates who are coaching at the elite high school level. This could include traditional public school powerhouses, prep schools and independent basketball academies.

To that end, one facet that comes to mind for me is the 14-member Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Scholastic (“EYBL Scholastic”), which is arguably the country's top high school conference.

We're talking about big-time high school programs here such as the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., the Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., the Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., the La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., and Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, N.Y., among numerous others.

In recent years, Syracuse basketball coaches have landed some commits, while recruiting a boatload of other prospects, for teams that suit up in the EYBL Scholastic. Unquestionably, programs in this league are filled with head coaches and assistants who possess deep AAU connections, and that could prove another arena where Autry looks for GMac's replacement.

Outright "replacing" McNamara is a tough ask, but Autry will do a stellar job landing a new assistant coach, much like he did a year ago when he brought Straughn to the Hill.

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