It’s that time again, time for everyone’s favorite (fake) game show! Who’s ready to play “Six (or fewer) Degrees of (Basketball) Separation?”
Harvard coach Tommy Amaker hired a new assistant coach on Wednesday, bringing in Brian Eskildsen to replace the departed Adam Cohen (who followed the Yanni Hufnagel route to Vanderbilt, after Hufnagel departed Vandy for a golden opportunity at Cal).
Now, let’s take a look at a few of the connections that may have led the Crimson’s new assistant to Cambridge (or Allston, if you want to be technical).
A Tennessee graduate (Class of 2009), Eskildsen got his start in basketball administration as an undergraduate office assistant and scout team member for the Lady Vols and legendary coach Pat Summitt. From there, he moved to the University of New Orleans as director of operations.
That job led Eskildsen to Stanford, where he worked as recruiting and video coordinator for Johnny Dawkins -- a former teammate of Amaker’s at Duke. (That’s one tie.)
After three seasons in Palo Alto, Eskildsen moved to Houston to take a job as an assistant coach under Rice coach Ben Braun. With the Owls, Eskildsen worked with the post players, served as recruiting coordinator, was in charge of opponent scouting and was tasked with game scheduling.
And who did the Owls play in 2013-14? Harvard. (That’s at least two ties -- and since Eskildsen was in charge of scheduling and then scouting the Crimson we’re going to rewrite the rules and count this as three in one to bring our total to four ties.)
A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Eskildsen went to the same high school (WT Woodson) as -- wait for it -- one Tommy Amaker (that’s five ties).
Finally, there’s the Twitter connection. If you’re looking for entertainment in your social media experience, neither Amaker nor Eskildsen is your man. (Amaker doesn’t have a Twitter account; Eskildsen has an account, complete with new Harvard banner, but zero tweets.)
That makes six ties (give or take). Thanks for playing!
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.