As a basketball fan and a Penn State fan, yesterday was quite an enjoyable one for myself. A Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals has once again become reality, and Ed DeChellis replaced outgoing assistant coach Hilliary Scott with Florida assistant Lewis Preston…Yes, THAT Florida, as in “Gators”, Billy Donovan, back-to-back national champions, Florida.
Here’s some nice tidbits on the new guy courtesy of GoPSUsports.com:
Preston worked with 2007 first-round NBA draft picks Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer and second-round selection Taurean Green while at Florida. At Notre Dame he had the opportunity to work with two first-round draft picks in back-to-back seasons in Troy Murphy (2001) and Ryan Humphrey (2002) as well as current NBA players Matt Carroll, David Graves, Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn.
During his time on the Notre Dame staff, Preston was instrumental in the development of the Irish post players and earned a reputation as a highly regarded national recruiter. He helped the Irish to a 118-70 (.628) mark in six years in South Bend, including three NCAA Tournament appearances and a Sweet 16 showing in 2003. The Irish reached the postseason in each of Preston’s six years at Notre Dame.
TRANSLATION: This is a “shot in the arm” for the coaching staff, getting a guy who has a pedigree of working with and developing NBA-caliber post players at two successful power conference programs nonetheless. Hopefully, this should open up doors to some quality post players we may otherwise have gotten merely a “sniff” from in previous seasons, being that our lack of a shot-blocking post guy has been our achilles’ heel since the beginning of time (Calvin Booth notwithstanding).
There also has been some speculation on the FOS and Penn State Hoops message boards that perhaps Preston may be a potential successor to ED if the team fails to build upon last season’s progress but for the time being, that’s just mere message board fodder and it’s not something I plan to delve into unless ED’s dismissal does in fact become imminent or a reality.
With all that being said, welcome aboard Coach Preston! We hope you’ll stick around long enough to see the benefits you may incur upon our program…