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Eastern Washington’s Shantay Legans, Gonzaga’s Brian Michaelson, Washington State’s John Andrzejek make ESPN’s rising stars list

UPDATED: Wed., May 13, 2020

Eastern Washington coach Shantay Legans has words for the officials during a game against Gonzaga last December. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington coach Shantay Legans has words for the officials during a game against Gonzaga last December. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Rankings are often dedicated to the best teams or individual players, but a trio of Inland Northwest coaches made ESPN’s top 40 Division I basketball coaches under 40.

Eastern Washington head coach Shantay Legans is No. 11, Gonzaga assistant Brian Michaelson is No. 12, and Washington State’s John Andrzejek is No. 39.

Coaches were ranked by achievement and potential. The list was compiled by ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello and John Gasaway.

The top five, in order, were UNC Greensboro’s Wes Miller, Xavier’s Travis Steele, LSU’s Will Wade, Oklahoma State’s Mike Boynton and Furman’s Bob Richey. All five are head coaches.

Legans, 38, was ranked eighth among head coaches. He was named Big Sky Conference coach of the year after guiding EWU (23-8, 16-4 Big Sky) to the regular-season title last season. EWU’s 23 wins were the second highest in the school’s 37 D-I seasons.

Legans is 59-41, including 41-17 in the Big Sky, in three seasons. His 41 conference victories are the best three-year stretch in program history.

Legans assisted at EWU for eight seasons before replacing Jim Hayford as head coach. He has been part of four of the Eagles’ five seasons with at least 20 wins.

Gonzaga assistant coach Brian Michaelson and guard Nigel Williams-Goss celebrate after defeating West Virginia in their 2017 NCAA Sweet 16. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga assistant coach Brian Michaelson and guard Nigel Williams-Goss celebrate after defeating West Virginia in their 2017 NCAA Sweet 16. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Michaelson, 38, was rated fourth among assistant coaches. He has played a key role in recruiting, player development and scouting as the Zags have won at least 30 games each of the past four seasons and six of the last eight.

Michaelson is in his seventh season as an assistant coach after spending five years in other capacities within the program. His efforts helped bring transfers Kyle Wiltjer, Byron Wesley, Nigel Williams-Goss and Johnathan Williams to Gonzaga.

Michaelson “led the charge” for 2020 guard Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga’s highest-ranked recruit ever,” according to Borzello.

Andrzejek, 27, is the youngest coach on the list. He’s served two years as a D-I assistant, one at WSU and the previous season at Dartmouth, where he coordinated an offense that posted the school’s highest KenPom.com efficiency rating since 1997.

Andrzejek was an assistant coach and recruiting director at Johns Hopkins in 2018, helping the D-III school to a 24-5 record. He was director of operations at San Francisco in 2017 under Kyle Smith, who has one year under his belt as WSU’s head coach.

“He’s considered proficient in analytics and has experience recruiting high-academic players at Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins,” according to Borzello.

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