clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Should Danny Sprinkle be getting National Coach of Year recognition?

Utah State is 19-2 after returning no production from last year’s team.

San Jose State v Utah State Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

There were over 60 coaching changes across Division-I in men’s college basketball last season, though only one change came in the Mountain West. While Fresno State’s Justin Hutson was on the hot seat, the only change was in Logan, Utah, as head coach Ryan Odom accepted a job at VCU after just two seasons with the Utah State Aggies.

Replacing him shortly thereafter was then-Montana State head coach Danny Sprinkle, who spent his first four seasons with the Bobcats, going 52-18 over his final two seasons with one Big Sky regular season title and two Big Sky tournament titles.

Sprinkle was forced to start from scratch ... literally. All-MW guard Steven Ashworth, Max Shulga, Sean Bairstow, Rylan Jones, Szymon Zapala, Cade Potter and Zee Hamoda all transferred; Taylor Funk, Dan Akin, Trevin Dorius and RJ Eytle-Rock all graduated. Utah State had literally zero returning points from the 2022-23 season.

Sprinkle brought in a collection of transfers, most notably Great Osobor and Darius Brown II, who followed him from Montana State. With an entirely new roster, there were plenty of questions entering the season about how year one of this era would transpire.

Low and beyond, the Aggies—who finished 2022-23 at 26-9 (13-5 MWC)—picked up right where they left off ... and then some. Utah State, currently ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll has roared out to a 19-2 start after winning 15 straight over a two-month stretch. Its lone losses came to Bradley and New Mexico, which both qualify as Quad 1 losses. Utah State’s won seven combined Quad 1-2 games, is atop the Mountain West at 7-1 and sports a top-20 NET ranking plus a top-30 KenPom ranking.

That begs the question: Does Danny Sprinkle deserve getting National Coach of the Year recognition?

If the season ended today, I would argue that Sprinkle would undoubtedly be the Mountain West Coach of the Year (yes ... I had Medved as my slight favorite for COY in non-conference play ... things change!).

They own the conference’s most efficient offense since MWC play began with the league’s best effective field goal percentage, free-throw rate, free-throw percentage and 2-point percentage, spearheaded by Osobor. The Aggies also have a top-flight, disciplined defense led by Brown, Mason Falslev, Ian Martinez, Josh Uduje and Osobor.

It still may be too early to tell who’s the clear-cut favorite for National Coach of the Year honors, but this track record at a new destination in a mid-major is practically unprecedented in modern-day college basketball.

Sprinkle deserves his flowers for the program he’s built in such a short amount of time, constructing a squad who’s arguably the favorite to win the Mountain West (at the time of this publishing), which could put at least five bids into the NCAA Tournament come March.