The presumed front runner for the Utah head coaching job decided to pull his name from consideration today, per multiple reports. Former Ute and current Utah Jazz assistant Alex Jensen decided to stay in the NBA with the Jazz. Jensen has reportedly interviewed for NBA head jobs in the past few seasons, and could be on deck for a future opening. Tony Jones of The Athletic really has reported a ton of the news around Jensen, and said today on ESPN700, that any other college program would have gotten a quick thanks but no thanks answer, but Alex’s love for the program made it a much harder decision.
Jensen was on those legendary 90s teams that made deep runs into the NCAA tournament, including the runner up team in 98. Being a player under Majerus is something that is very interesting to a lot of fans and boosters, and his value to Quin Snyder and the Jazz shows his coaching chops as well. By the sounds of it, Mark Harlan made a serious run at him, but the NBA was too much for him to walk away from.
Now the names floating around are also very intriguing. Johnnie Bryant, the former Ute sharpshooter, is also being linked to the job, but the question that is floating out there for him is similar to Jensen, if he’s offered will he want to walk away from the NBA, since he’s high up on the coaching staff with the Knicks. Porter Moser is a hot name for many fans and media members, the coach of Loyola, who also coached under Majerus at St Louis. There has been speculation that he wants to stay in the midwest, but we’ll see if he gets an interview. Craig Smith at Utah State is another name that pops up, and his ability to rebuild that program is very impressive. A name that caught me off guard is Mike White, the coach at Florida. There has been speculation that he has major interest in the opening as well, and he’s had a nice run at Florida. A name that Jones dropped today was Earl Watson, the former NBA point guard, who also coached for the Phoenix Suns for a bit. Sounds like he has major interest in the job as well.
I think all names floating out there are very intriguing, and now with Jensen pulling his name out, I think we’ll get an answer within the next week. The program needs to make a move soon, so they can begin working on keeping the roster in tact, and begin looking at the transfer market to fill some holes.