As Mark Miller first tweeted on Thursday, it appears Wisconsin has selected Akron assistant Lamont Paris to replace new UIC head coach Howard Moore on its men's basketball staff. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports confirmed the choice via Twitter as well.
Paris comes to the Badgers after a very successful six-year run on the bench at Akron under head coach Keith Dambrot (aka LeBron's high school coach). The Zips posted a winning record in each season and made an NCAA appearance in 2009. The 36-year-old Ohio native also has coaching experience at the D-II and D-III levels, playing his college ball at the College of Wooster.
One can assume that Paris impressed Bo Ryan and Co. quite a bit during the interview process, because during this admittedly quiet coaching search, he was only mentioned as a serious candidate a week ago when Goodman reported that Paris was one of the four finalists.
The first question that springs to mind when hearing of the hiring is, "Wait, who's going to recruit Chicago now?" The answer, of course, remains to be seen. The best guess, however, is two-fold.
First of all, we know Paris can sell a program, as he handled much of the recruiting load during Akron's resurgence. Just last season, Paris and the Akron staff reeled in center Zeke Marshall, the most highly-touted recruit in program history. Judging by the way Wisconsin's next few recruiting classes look now, Paris has at least 18-24 months to adapt to his surroundings and cultivate the connections needed help the Badgers in Chicago. Since I assume Paris will be handling Ohio, Chicago-area recruiting could end up being a group effort as the turf shifts among assistants. Perhaps Gary Close will help out a little more in Illinois with Greg Gard entrenched as the lead in "Minnesconsin".
Secondly, Wisconsin has spent more and more of it's recruiting capital in Ohio the past few seasons and clearly sees the Buckeye state as an untapped market for basketball players. Paris' deep ties to the area will be a welcome addition. Meanwhile, recruiting in Chicago has always been a mixed-bag for many reasons outside the lines -- a game we know Bo does not enjoy playing.
Since Moore also worked with the Badger big men, one of the assistants will pick up that responsibility too. Before the season, Wisconsin needs to replace its Director of Basketball Operations and video coordinator as well.