Is UCONN’s Dan Hurley The Right Coach For The Los Angeles Lakers?

Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It is now being reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and others in the media that there is a new leader in the clubhouse for the open Los Angeles Lakers head coaching position.

After it was reported just two days ago that JJ Redick was the lead man for the job, that has now changed and it looks like the current head coach of UCONN, Dan Hurley, is the coach that the esteemed franchise is all in on.

So who is Dan Hurley, and is he the right coach for the job?

Related: Sean McVay Reveals Defensive Line Blueprint

The Resurgence of UCONN Basketball Under Dan Hurley

Since taking the helm as the head coach of the University of Connecticut (UCONN) men’s basketball team in 2018, Dan Hurley has revitalized the program, bringing it back to national prominence. His tenure has been marked by significant achievements, most notably, back-to-back national championships.

Building a Winning Culture

When Dan Hurley arrived at UCONN, he inherited a program that had struggled in the years following its 2014 national championship. It was also marred in controversy due to recruiting violations that led to every win being vacated in the 2017-2018 season resulting in an 0-18 season.

Hurley, known for his intense coaching style and relentless work ethic, immediately set about changing the culture. He emphasized discipline, hard work, and a team-first mentality, which quickly resonated with his players.

Hurley’s ability to recruit top-tier talent has been a cornerstone of his success. He has consistently brought in highly regarded recruiting classes, featuring players who fit his system and embrace his competitive spirit. This influx of talent has been critical in restoring UCONN’s reputation as a powerhouse in college basketball.

On-Court Success

Under Hurley’s leadership, UCONN has seen a steady improvement in its on-court performance. The Huskies have become known for their tenacious defense, efficient offense, and ability to perform in high-pressure situations. These attributes have translated into impressive win totals and significant victories over ranked opponents.

After rebuilding the program from the ground up in his first two years, Hurley led the Huskies back to the NCAA tournament. In the 2020-2021 season, UCONN made its first tournament appearance since 2016, a testament to Hurley’s effective rebuilding efforts. The team’s return to the tournament was a significant milestone, signaling that UCONN was once again a force to be reckoned with on the national stage.

They would make the tournament in back-to-back seasons but lost in the first round both times. But that was just the beginning.

The next season, UCONN would enter the tournament as a four-seed and would go on to beat the San Diego State Aztecs for the National Championship.

The following season, UCONN entered the tournament as the number one overall seed. They went on to defeat Purdue for their second title in as many seasons.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut Victory Parade and Rally | Los Angeles Lakers Coaching Candidate Dan Hurley
David Butler II-USA TODAY SportsCredit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Player Development

Hurley’s impact extends beyond wins and losses; he has also played a crucial role in developing his players. Under his guidance, several Huskies have blossomed into standout performers. Hurley’s emphasis on fundamentals, combined with his ability to tailor his coaching to each player’s strengths, has helped his athletes reach their full potential.

Notable examples include James Bouknight, who emerged as one of the top players in the country and became a first-round NBA draft pick, and Adama Sanogo, whose dominance in the paint made him a key player for the Huskies before signing a contract with the Chicago Bulls. Hurley’s track record of player development has not only benefited his team but also attracted recruits who aspire to reach the next level.

Is he the right coach for the Los Angeles Lakers? His resume certainly would say yes.