The frenzied offseason for the Washington men’s basketball team continued Wednesday, with the program announcing that Wyking Jones, a former head coach at California, has been hired to join coach Mike Hopkins’ staff.
Hopkins had an opening on his staff after assistant Cameron Dollar announced he was leaving the program a month ago. Six players have announced they are entering the transfer portal after the team concluded a 5-21 season.
“We are so excited to add Wyking to our staff,” Hopkins said in a statement released by UW. “He has built an incredible reputation for himself in college basketball and worked with some the great coaches in the business. He’s an excellent recruiter and a great teacher of the game. Not only does he bring a wealth of experience and knowledge but he will be a tremendous asset to our program both on and off the court as a developer of student-athletes.
“His passion and enthusiasm is going to be incredible for our student-athletes and we are so lucky to have him on our team on Montlake. “
Jones, 48, served as an assistant coach at New Mexico, Pepperdine, Louisville, Loyola Marymount and California before becoming head coach at Cal in 2017. He was fired after the 2019 season after the Golden Bears went 8-24 and 8-23, finishing last in the Pac-12 both seasons.
The teams he was an assistant coach on had much more success. He was on Louisville’s staff in 2013 when the Cardinals won the national championship that was later vacated by the NCAA.
“I’m truly honored to be part of Coach Hopkins’ staff at Washington,” Jones said in the release. “Since he arrived on campus, I’ve had a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach and person. What he has been able to accomplish in such a short time speaks for itself.
“During my entire coaching career, I’ve watched Washington from afar and have been impressed with it’s history and long list of players that have gone on to be successful at the next level. Being a part of that storied history is very exciting and I’m ready to get to Seattle.”
Hopkins was named Pac-12 coach of the year in his first two seasons at UW (2017-18 and 2018-19), leading the team to 21-13 and 27-9 records. But the team has nose-dived the past two seasons, with last season’s 5-21 mark preceded by a 15-17 mark and a last-place finish in the Pac-12.
Senior starting forward Hameir Wright announced April 1 he was entering the transfer portal, joining Erik Stevenson, Marcus Tsohonis, Nate Pryor, RaeQuan Battle and J’Raan Brooks.
Jones was a two-time All-Big West Conference selection while playing for Loyola Marymount (1991-95). He played professionally in Italy, France, Japan, Lebanon and South Korea.
Jones joined Cuonzo Martin’s staff before the 2015-16 season. The Golden Bears went 23-11 and 21-13 in his first two seasons, and Jones was promoted to head coach when Martin left for Missouri.
But Jones could not sustain the success and was gone two years later.