On Wednesday afternoon, Mike Hopkins was introduced as the head coach of the University of Washington men’s basketball team.
Hopkins, a long time assistant under Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, was slated to take over for the Orange after next season. But those plans changes when news broke on Sunday that Hopkins would be the new Huskies coach.
During the press conference, Hopkins touched on everything from his coaching staff, recruiting, and even a shout out to Lake Chelan, where he vacationed growing up.
The crux of Hopkins’ message to media and fans in attendance was two-fold: there’s a lot of work to be done, but he is committed to bringing success back to UW basketball.
Washington finished this season with a 9-22 record, 2-16 in conference play, and finished the season on a 13 games losing streak.
It’s no surprise the newest head coach would address the current state of the program. However, he chose to not dwell on why things went wrong, but rather what the future held.
And he was honest. Delicate, but honest.
“Nothing in life is easy,” Hopkins said. “This isn’t going to be easy.”
At the same time, his passion for the move to Washington was apparent from the get-go.
Leaving an established program like Syracuse isn’t an easy decision to make, but for Hopkins, he knew it was the right one.
“I wouldn’t be here sitting in this seat if I didn’t think I could make it happen,” Hopkins said. “This felt right. I can’t explain it.”
Hopkins certainly has his work cut out for him. UW is coming off one of it’s worst seasons in program history, and things don’t appear to be trending upwards.
During the press conference, a report came out that Nathan Hale senior and UW recruit Michael Porter Jr., the top high school player in the country, had asked Washington to release him from his letter of intent.
When asked about Porter, Hopkins admitted he hadn’t been in contact with him, but that a meeting between him and the Porter family was imminent, and could even take place as early as today.
While Porter remaining with Washington through the transition looks unlikely, Hopkins has his sights set on a different goal that recruiting top prospects: building a team complete from top to bottom.
Using terms like “blue collar” and “play with a chip on your shoulder”, Hopkins briefly outlined the type of culture he hopes to establish at Washington–and build a team that can compete with the likes of Pac-12 powerhouses Arizona and UCLA.
“You gotta beat them by being tougher. And by being tougher together,” Hopkins said.
With a new era officially underway at Montlake, UW fans can hopefully take Hopkins press conference as a sign of hope for good things to come. After six years without reaching the NCAA tournament, brighter times could be on the horizon for Husky basketball.
And Mike Hopkins believes he’s the one to take Washington back to the promised land.
“We’re going to work tooth and nail, and do everything we can to make this a championship program.”