Photo Credit: Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera
As reported earlier on Friday and later confirmed by a source close to the program, Rodney Billups, Denver basketball alumnus (2002-2005) and younger brother of NBA legend Chauncey Billups, will be the next head coach of the University of Denver basketball program. This news comes on the heels of the altogether surprising announcement that the program had parted ways with 9 year head coach, Joe Scott.
During his senior season with the Pioneers, Billups averaged 10.2 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. His on-court performance that year earned him a spot on the All-Sun Belt Conference third team. His performance that year also led Denver to a 20-win season and a berth in the NIT.
In 2010, he joined the men’s basketball staff at the University of Colorado-Boulder as the director of basketball operations. In that role, he learned the ins-and-outs of running a Power Five basketball program before joining the coaching staff in 2012. In his role as assistant coach, he helped lead the Buffaloes to a 21-win season in 2012-13 and a 23-win season in 2013-14.
“Rodney continues to bring a lot of value to our staff,” University of Colorado men’s basketball head coach Tad Boyle said via cubuffs.com. “Each year, he gets more and more comfortable in his recruiting role, and continues to develop into a fine, young coach.”
One of Billups’ main roles with the Buffaloes was recruiting, a variable that CU has greatly improved in recent years…and one that Denver has struggled with in recent years. He helped recruit and mentor extremely talented players like Alec Burks, Andre Roberson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Josh Scott, and Wes Gordon.
Billups will bring a number of aspects to the Denver basketball program that Scott simply couldn’t. First and foremost, he will bring a new dimension to DU’s recruiting. He will likely have the ability to create a recruiting pipeline with his brother’s ‘Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy.’
Billups’ name will attract serious interest in the program from both the community and potential recruits alike. The Billups name is legendary in every basketball outlet, both in professional and amateur circles.
Further, Denver’s new hire is extremely well-regarded by members of the Boulder and CU media. One reporter said, “He’s a real nice guy. He’s done a really good job in the recruiting realm.” Another told me, “Very very personable. Great recruiter. Connects with players really well. He’s so young and I think he’ll have to learn some things on the fly, but he’s going to recruit like a maniac.”
The Pioneers have added a Colorado basketball legend to their staff. The Denver basketball program immediately got better with this hire. Recruiting will improve, the on-court product will improve, and local interest in the program will be unprecedented.
Joe Scott did a lot for the University of Denver basketball program and his contributions cannot be understated, but it appears that Billups may be the coach to take the Pioneers to the next level.
One thing is for sure, though: The DU athletics department is no longer content with looking at basketball as anything less than a high-profile program.
Billups is expected to be officially announced as head coach early next week, likely on Monday. LetsGoDU will continue to update this ongoing story as more information breaks.