Per Chris Williams of Cyclone Fanatic, T.J. Otzelberger, associate head coach and lead recruiter for the Iowa State basketball team has accepted a similar position at the University of Washington. To state the obvious, losing Coach Otz is a big loss to the Cyclone program. Otz was instrumental in the recruitment efforts for Iowa State dating back to the Greg McDermott era and when Fred Hoiberg was hired, retaining him on staff was one of the first priorities of Hoiberg.
Otz's list of recruits that he brought to Ames included Mike Taylor, Diante Garrett and Craig Brackins among others going back to the McDermott era, as well as current Cyclones Melvin Ejim and Matt Thomas, the later of whom will join Iowa State this upcoming season.
Let the speculation begin as to why Otz chose to the leave the program, especially in what can be considered a lateral move. Many thought he would be the leading candidate for the Drake head coach job but that role was filled by former Gonzaga assistant Ray Giacoletti.
Otz has never been shy about his aspirations to be a division-1 head coach. Perhaps he feels a change of scenery out west will allow that to happen sooner. By all accounts, Otzelberger and Hoiberg never appeared to have any sort of friction between the two of them, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. We all expected Otz to leave at some point for a head job, making this move surprising to say the least.
In any event, this is an opportunity for Hoiberg to improve his staff. Some criticisms that have come to the surface in Hoiberg's first three years have been an apparent lack of attention to the defensive scheming and game planning as well as the development of the post players. I'm not entirely sure that the post player development critique is valid, but it could be a developing trend.
Stay tuned for more updates on this story as it develops.