MINNEAPOLIS - Is desperation setting in just one week after the University of Minnesota (U of M) fired Tubby Smith and launched a search for a new men's basketball coach?
There are published reports that on Monday two more candidates pulled their names off the Gophers list.
SI.com reported late Monday night that Southern California had targeted Florida Gulf Coast's Andy Enfield as its top candidate, with a deal expected to be completed soon. The Trojans didn't waste any time moving forward with an official announcement on Twitter less than a half-hour later, saying "OFFICIAL: Please welcome Andy Enfield (@CoachEnfield) to the #TrojanFamily as the new head coach of @USC_Hoops."
ESPN's Andy Katz reported earlier Monday that Enfield was receiving "strong interest" from Minnesota and USC. Later in the day, Katz posted on twitter that the University of Cincinatti's Mick Cronin withdrew from consideration for the Gophers' job, citing family reasons and his commitment to his alma mater.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said last week that he didn't know who would be interested in the Minnesota opening.
"I think it's going to be difficult to find someone as good as or better than Tubby Smith," Bilas said.
Monday's "No thank yous" come after both Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg signed 10-year extensions to remain at their respective programs after negotiations with the Gophers.
Former Timberwolves coach and Gophers player Flip Saunders also spurned the U of M, reportedly over a disagreement concerning Saunders' son and whether he could be on staff.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )