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Who might Heath hire? Here's a name

USF coach Stan Heath has said the primary asset he's seeking in two new assistant coaches he's hiring is the ability to recruit at a high level, to help him find and sign the top players USF needs to compete in the Big East.

Stone Toward that end, there's a new name I can offer up that's on a short list of candidates being considered: LaMonta Stone, who has spent the last five seasons as an assistant and top recruiter at Bowling Green.

Stone (his name is pronounced la-MON-tay) and Heath have known each other for nearly 25 years -- both are from Detroit, of similar age and cut their coaching teeth as Big Ten assistants, with Heath at Michigan State and Stone under Jim O'Brien at Ohio State. Before that, Stone was a top high school coach in the Detroit area at River Rouge High School -- in 1999, the Detroit News "Dream Team" all-state honors had him as their top coach, leading a team that included future Ohio State guard Brent Darby. (The same list, a year earlier, had Oronde Taliaferro, who would become an assistant under Heath at Kent State and Arkansas and is now at Oklahoma)

Stone was considered for Bowling Green's head coaching job two years ago, and the man who got the job, former Seton Hall coach Louis Orr, kept him on the staff. Read this story in the Toledo Blade, and you'll get a sense of his reputation in Michigan and especially in Detroit, where Heath got a top recruit last fall in Country Day's Jordan Dumars. Bowling Green had a strong nucleus of three Detroit players that Stone recruited as the Falcons made the postseason NIT this spring. There's more to read about Stone in this entry from Hoopscooponline.com in 2007. (Do a search for his name, to make it easier to find).

Stone hasn't returned calls seeking comment, but there's said to be a mutual interest, and few candidates would combine his recruiting reputation and his familiarity with Heath. Both jobs should be filled in the next two weeks, giving time to get settled before the remainder of the incoming recruiting class arrives in late June. Former USF guard and assistant Tommy Tonelli, currently the Bulls' director of basketball operations, is also being considered for a promotion to a full-time assistant's job.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:32pm]

    

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