An interesting move by TCU to get Trent Johnson from LSU. Johnson had built a solid resume/reputation going from Nevada to Stanford and having success. He’s had mixed results at LSU at best. It was initially believed Johnson would make roughly what he made at LSU, though, his salary pool for assistants would be smaller.
The reports came out that Johnson was going to be earning close to $2 million. What? That seemed crazy. Turned out that the $2 million number was bogus. More likely that the number was the total package for Johnson with incentives and his pool for assistants.
The move as whole has brought shrugs from both sides. It is also interesting in that Q&A between TCU and LSU about Trent Johnson that the LSU side views it as a Penn State-Ed DeChellis-Navy situation. Where the coach sees what could be happening after next year (and only one year left on the contract) and goes for another job before being fired. That actually seems more like what Jim Christian did at TCU. He saw the situation at TCU — in terms of the team, talent, time left on his contract, and step-up in conference difficulty — and made a move downward to the MAC.
Trent Johnson’s move, to me, seems to be one where he gets a little closer to his recruiting comfort zone. He had his best success at Nevada and Stanford. His more natural recruiting area is in the West and Southwest. That will work better for him.
Johnson’s biggest problem will be recruiting good enough talent to compete in the Big 12. He’s a good coach in terms of developing players and game strategy. But he has never had a big recruiting rep. He’s going to a place with next to zero basketball tradition — outside of Jamie Dixon — and facilities in need of a major upgrade. It will be a question of how much time he is given to try and build something.
The good news is the “TEAM X is pursuing Jamie Dixon” stuff was brief and never rose past the level of highly improbable. Considering Coach Dixon spent the week recruiting and bringing in Trey Zeigler, any rumors that Dixon did more than listen politely to his alma mater were not much more than bunk.