After Porter Moser was fired, things were not looking good for Illinois State. They were 51-67 since 2003, had not had a postseason sense 2001, and did not have a single ranked recruit coming in. It would take a mastermind to rebuild the Redbirds.
Cue Tim Jankovich.
Here is a man that put North Texas basketball on the map. The Mean Green had gone 5-22 before Tim got there. With Jankovich at the helm they had the second largest turnaround in the nation that year.
In his four years at North Texas, he comprised the second-best winning percentage by a head basketball coach in school history.
But who exactly is Tim Jankovich? A few of his credentials include coaching 24 current or former NBA players during his career, coaching under Bill Self and Eddie Sutton, and he is known as one of the best teachers and recruiters in the game.
"Tim is one of the brightest coaches, at any level, that I've had the pleasure to be around. He has a great basketball mind, one that is very creative, and he has the ability to get a team to play to its full potential. He is talented, sharp, hard-working and has great people skills. I have been blessed to be around some great assistant coaches, and Tim is as talented as any of them. This should be an exciting time for Illinois State," said Bill Self, 2009 coach of the year, about his former assistant.
Deron Williams learned a thing or two from his former coach, even if it was for only one season.
“He knows a lot about the game, because he was a player himself. I know, personally, he helped me considerably with my free throws and gave me some shooting tips. Illinois State has a great coach,” said Williams.
He helped turnaround a slumping Vanderbilt team and the core of the 2004 Sweet 16 team were his recruits.
All his hard work has carried over to Illinois State where they equaled their highest win total in school history (25) in 2007-08, and Jankovich posted the most victories by any Illinois State first-year head coach.
This season the team finished 24-10 and lost 83-79 in the first round of the NIT to the team Jankovich played on for most of his career Kansas State.
If they can continue there success they will be back in the NCAA Tournament in no time.
I will agree with many people that this Tournament had few good story lines, no drama, and an all around snooze fest, but one thing you can take away from it: If you want a successful team, you need a successful coach.
If you want a successful coach, look no further then Tim Jankovich.
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