1. Jeff Capel
Duke guard: 1993-97
Head coaching experience: VCU, 2002-06; Oklahoma, 2006-2011; interim Duke head coach for one game each in 2016 and 2017; Pittsburgh, 2018-present
“Sit with us, Coach!” Who would have thought that the Cameron Crazies were psychic? First off, Jeff Capel was a quality Duke basketball guard during the mid-90s and was the freshman point guard on the 1994 squad that almost brought home a title (you suck, Scotty Thurman!). Up until Tre Jones happened recently, Jeff had the ultimate Carolina buzzer-tie.
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After playing, he went on to coach VCU and left a year before the program knocked off Duke in the tournament. That team may not have been coached by Capel, but he put it together. Everyone at the party knew that Capel was a great recruiter at that point, but it wasn’t until his next stop at Oklahoma that people got to see it in action.
He made a splash his second year at OU when he signed Blake Griffin (you heard that correctly, Capel got Blake Griffin to go to Oklahoma). I know Griffin’s brother was there, and he was from Oklahoma City, but you still have to admit that with Kansas right up the road, that’s pretty impressive. His teams dropped off at Oklahoma, but I’m not entirely sure that was his fault, but we won’t get into that now.
Capel followed up that dismissal with almost a decade on the Duke basketball staff and is now putting in his time as the boss at Pittsburgh. He’s gone 204-139 in all his time as a head coach, but I think the ultimate thing that will get him this job is the aforementioned recruiting chops.
His time at Duke as associate head coach proved he isn’t a great recruiter, he’s an ELITE recruiter. I don’t throw that word around lightly, but I think Jeff has earned it. I understand it’s easy to recruit when you have a brand like Duke behind you, but there’s plenty of schools one-and-done guys can play at. Capel brought the revolution to Durham, and his recruiting skills, connections, and coaching experience make him my ideal candidate.