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Understanding the bold decision to hire Jeff Nix as Director of Basketball Operations

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I haven't commented on new Wake Forest Director of Basketball Operations Jeff Nix yet. Quite frankly it's because I just haven't known what to say about it. The position of DBO is complicated. Grinding. Exhausting.

So when head coach Jeff Bzdelik said that Nix was overqualified, well, that's true. And naturally questions about why a basketball lifer would take the thankless job of Director of Basketball Operations at a school in a rebuilding phase arose.

It's a move I still haven't fully wrapped my head around, but for a program with nothing to lose at this point, why not?

Nix has been in basketball for over three decades. His resumé is a little ridiculous for a DBO. Assistant coach under Pete Gillen and Digger Phelps? Check. Assistant coach under Pat Riley, Don Nelson and Jeff Van Gundy? Yup. Work in the front office as an assistant general manager? Sure. Director of Scouting? Mhm.

 

But then the Isiah Thomas sexual harassment incident happened. He testified. And he lost his job for it. So, basketball took a backseat as he focused on charity work and finishing his master's in sports administration. And Jeff Bzdelik implored him to get back into coaching. It seems he's finally ready to take that step.

It's a good decision.

Look, I'd be stunned if Nix is here for more than a year. Two at most. But with all the turnover in the Wake coaching staff recently among the assistants, it's a flier that has no real negative outcome. Maybe he will put his heart into scouting again. Maybe he'll help Coach Bzdelik find an offensive and defensive identity that fits his personnel better than the one he tried to instill a year ago. Maybe his pedigree will speak to the players. Maybe he'll re-energize Coach Bzdelik, who clearly was wearing down with the difficulty of the season.

Maybe none of those things will happen.

But at the very least it's a proactive move that shows a willingness to try something. To take a bit of a gamble. And honestly, what do the Deacs have to lose?