Hopkins was ready to lead
Coach Mike Hopkins was a long time assistant at Syracuse. The top aide to head coach Jim Boeheim, he had plateaued there. But he used that time preparing for a team of his own one day. And it was the years of preparation which set Hopkins up to succeed in the weeks to follow taking over the Washington Basketball program. He did such a grand job that he landed Pac-12 Coach of the Year distinction.
The team made a very quick decision when deciding on their next head coach. And that quick decision allowed Hopkins to hit the floor running.
Coach Hopkins coached teamwork first
Hitting the floor running enabled Hopkins a window to succeed. The team had plenty of talent. They simply needed a coach to empower them. And when the team hired Coach Hopkins, that is exactly what they got. It all hinged on Hopkins ability to strike the right cord with the team, and the fans. And he did. Creating a #TougherTogether was a stroke of genius. Inclusive, the slogan invited players and fans to jump onboard.
And jump onboard happened. Coach Hopkins has delivered in his first year. No, he did not have enough lead time to recruit top-ranked players to fit his ideal scheme. But he did manage to recruit the right players for this team to make them highly competitive. Yes, the team does not boast a true point guard. Yes, the team gives away huge height disadvantage. But the team is both fearless and agressive. They have played through bad stretches and emerged stronger for it.