Michigan Basketball: LaVall Jordan's Potential Exit Is Another Cost of Success

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IIJuly 5, 2013

LaVall Jordan may not be in Ann Arbor much longer. Photo courtesy of USA Today.
LaVall Jordan may not be in Ann Arbor much longer. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Brad Stevens' decision to leave the Butler Bulldogs for the Boston Celtics sent shockwaves through the college basketball world on Wednesday. Fans of the Michigan basketball program may feel the residual effects of the move. Assistant coach LaVall Jordan is one of two finalists to replace Stevens.

Source tells The Star the vacant #Butler head coaching job will come down to Brandon Miller or LaVall Jordan.

— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) July 4, 2013

Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Jordan has "emerged as the front-runner" to take over at Butler.

Potentially losing a talented assistant like Jordan is just one of the costs of success Wolverine fans will have to adjust to. Sweating out early NBA draft declarations is another thing the Maize and Blue faithful are getting used to.

The move would be perfect for everyone except Michigan. Jordan played guard for the Bulldogs from 1997-2001. Prior to joining head coach John Beilein's staff in 2010, Jordan served as an assistant under two former Butler coaches, Todd Lickliter at Iowa (2007-10) and Thad Matta at Butler (2004-07).

At age 34, Jordan is primed and ready to begin a head coaching career of his own and is now getting a chance to return to his alma mater, which is moving to the Big East Conference this season. This is no longer a mid-major program. Turning down a chance to coach in one of the nation's marquee leagues is not going to be easy for Jordan.

Butler is the best program for Jordan to take over at this stage of his career.

Meanwhile, the Wolverines could lose one of their best recruiters. Prior to Jordan's arrival, Beilein only managed to land two 4-star prospects. With Jordan on board, Michigan has reeled in seven recruits with at least a 4-star ranking.

Those numbers are a bit skewed considering the state the program was in when Beilein took over. Still, there is no denying Jordan played a vital role in signing highly touted recruits.

The contacts and relationships Jordan built in the state of Indiana over the years helped the Wolverines mightily on the recruiting trail. Glenn Robinson III hails from the Hoosier state and incoming 5-star guard Zak Irvin does as well. Without Jordan, those talents may never wind up in Ann Arbor.

Player development may be Jordan's best trait, though.

"He has earned major praise for his work with the guards in the past three seasons, and specifically has been accredited for helping turn Trey Burke into the national player of the year and Tim Hardaway Jr. into a first-round NBA draft pick," Kyle Meinke of MLive wrote.

"Former point guard Darius Morris also bloomed into an NBA draft pick under Jordan's tutelage."

Losing an assistant like Jordan would be a major loss. Assistant coach Bacari Alexander could be next in line for a head coaching offer.

"He's a hot commodity as well...he'll have options," Chris Balas of The Wolverine wrote.

If Jordan does indeed leave the Wolverines for the Bulldogs, former men's basketball director of operations Travis Conlan could return to Ann Arbor as an assistant. Current director of program personnel C.J. Lee would be Michigan's best option to promote in-house.    

Wolverine fans had better get used to chatter about their assistants being in the mix for other coaching jobs. It should not be viewed as a negative, though. Such a thing comes with the territory of running a successful program.


All prospect ratings are courtesy of Rivals.com.

Follow me on Twitter: @Zach_Dirlam.