The New Regime: EKU
Rebuilding a program is always difficult, sometimes impossible. But new Eastern Kentucky University Head Coach Dan McHale has a slightly different, daunting task. He must maintain a solid program.
EKU does not boast a proud history of 20-win seasons. They do not routinely advance to their Conference Tournament Finals. The NCAA Tournament viewership is not very familiar with the Colonels.
Despite the uphill battle they traditionally faced, EKU has recently made an impressive climb into the top OVC echelon. The last decade included numerous program benchmarks.
Now Coach McHale is tasked with keeping the program on its perch. To do that he must recruit well.
Targets for EKU
Coach McHale is searching for a 2016 wing. In the last ten days he and his staff have offered Phil Bledsoe, Parker Chitty, Kieran Hayward.
Hayward and Chitty are generally shooting guards, while Bledsoe (WV) looks like a combo forward. For EKU, Bledsoe could play either forward spot admirably.
Bledsoe is strong, pretty mobile, and active around the rim. The Ohio Valley Conference frequently plays players his size at the 4. Murray State had a couple undersized bigs roaming in the paint last winter.
The Colonels are certainly taking a point guard in the 2016 class, but few current targets are seriously considering them.
Reinforcements are needed in a big way, because most of the EKU talent have short-term scholarships. For example, Javontae Hawkins and K.J. Bluford are two of the best players in the program, but they have three years of eligibility left combined. Hawkins is a junior and Bluford is entering his final year of college basketball.
Their contributions will likely be large, but brief.
Building a program, not a team, requires astute evaluations and ultimately young, developing signees.
Will Coach McHale be able to land any of the newest wing targets?