Missouri Coach Search Bracket: Darian DeVries vs. Matt McMahon

Half of the candidates in our field have left, including one – Niko Medved of Colorado State – who has retired from the coaching market altogether by signing a contract extension.

Have we gone too far with 15 candidates? May be. But readers were pretty clear in their preferences. The only light drama involved a split opinion over Kim English, who unfortunately lost in our tiebreaker format. At first, we wondered what degree of consensus would exist. It turned out to be more than we thought.

Maybe that changes in this round.

The format remains unchanged. We’re just deciding regional winners now. But instead of full profiles, we’re going to compare each coach head-to-head. At the bottom of each room is a poll, where you have 24 hours to make your preference known. The fan vote will represent 50% of the votes.

Who makes up the other half? The staff of Rock M.

If the staff is unanimous and the fans make the same selection, it’s quite easy. If, however, there is consensus among the staff, but the fans disagree, we have a tie. To break the tie, we enlisted the services of Jim Root (@2ndChancePoints), which will render the final verdict.

Today we return to Stable Risers Regionwhere Drake’s Darian DeVries, replaced by Medved, meets Murray State Matt McMahon. In the Young Blood RegionWyoming Jeff Linder faces San Francisco Todd Golden.


Give Darian DeVries credit for that: patience.

For 17 seasons on the Creighton team, he passed up opportunities to slip into a head coaching job outside of the Midwest. Four years ago, however, Niko Medved bailed out after just one season at Drake, and the school’s administration looked west to Omaha for a longer-term solution.

DeVries is originally from Iowa. He played in northern Iowa and, while on Dana Altman’s staff, told his boss that the job in Des Moines was at the top of the list of opportunities he coveted. Then, in March 2018, it happened, and at the time, those close to DeVries assumed he was settling in for a long term.

Now, this theory may face a test.

DeVries, 46, picked up the momentum created by Medved, winning more than 20 games in each of his first four seasons. Last season, the Bulldogs started 19-0 en route to the program’s first-ever overall NCAA Tournament bid, which ended in a first-round loss to USC.

This year, Drake fired five starters, and they added top 100 talent in Tucker DeVries, the coach’s son, who opted to play for his dad over offers from Creighton, Florida, Iowa State and Oregon. . However, while Drake staged a strong campaign, finishing 24-10 overall, a weak schedule was not topped by a regular-season sweep of Loyola Chicago.

Why did we delay including DeVries in our original pool?

I mean, Jeff Linder and Todd Golden were in office for a shorter period. Yet both guide the programs through slightly more challenging lectures. And when COVID hasn’t ravaged the schedules, the non-conference slates of Wyoming and San Francisco have been far superior to the competition Drake has fielded. During DeVries’ tenure, the Bulldogs’ non-conference schedules ranked above No. 279 only once — his first season.

During that stretch, Drake is 13-17 against KenPom’s top 100 and 4-8 against teams that come from outside the Missouri Valley. With everyone but Joseph Yesufu still there, the program 5-9 in those games. His best non-league victory was against Richmond.

Fine.

So why is Dennis Gates in the mix and not DeVries? First, look at Gates’ resume. He spent eight years at Florida State and moved between low and middle jobs. DeVries’ entire pre-Drake experience was with Creighton. Now he’s ridden with the program in the Far East, but he’s still spent most of his career in the upper Midwest.

But if you’re going to apprentice somewhere, Creighton isn’t bad. DeVries is very familiar with Dana Altman’s spread system and Greg McDermott’s powerful secondary break. The question will be whether he can fill his roster with the kind of shooting that has made both systems so dynamic.

So why include DeVries? Because he still quickly elevated a program that made huge strides under Medved in a conference where Porter Moser and Loyola Chicago were perennial contenders. It’s a run-off between him and Missouri State’s Dana Ford for best rebuild, and the two are in prime position to fill the void created when the Ramblers join the Atlantic 10.

You also can’t accuse DeVries of feasting on empty calories and sparing Matt McMahon. Just look at Murray State’s SOS during his tenure. The Racers haven’t played a slate better than 220and nationally. Until this season, McMahon was 4-13 against top 100 KenPom.

The positives we covered in our original profile still hold: the extraction of undervalued guards, a fantastic ball-screen based offense and improvement after Ja Morant left. DeVries’ best development work came with Doug McDermott, but I doubt many would say that trumps Morant’s two seasons with the Racers.

Ultimately, the question is whether you deem the sample size large enough for DeVries to help MU out of the doldrums. But his Midwestern roots, experience with proven offensive minds, and relatively quick results are at least worth considering.

The choice is yours.


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