Often the recruiting trail can be arduous and redundant. The venues sometimes all look alike, yet it's the new connections that always linger.
Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle can't precisely put his finger which gym he was sitting in earlier this year, yet the conversation he struck up that particular day with the young coach who happened to be sitting beside him made an instant impression.
That young coach was Kim English. After that day on the bleachers, English immediately jumped to the top of the list Boyle keeps of potential coaching candidates if a shakeup ever hits his staff. On Friday, English was crossed off that list, as he officially was named a Colorado assistant.
"He was at the top of my list," Boyle said. "We sat next to each other during an AAU event. You sit there and you're watching games and you strike up a conversation. Number one, he carries himself very well. He's very professional. He exudes confidence but he's not cocky. He just really impressed me. There's certain players that have the 'It Factor.' Kim struck me as a coach that has the 'It Factor.' The thing I really appreciate about him is he's in coaching for the right reason."
So impressive was English during that relatively brief encounter that Boyle, a former Kansas player, had little qualms hiring a relatively recent star at Missouri. That regional rivalry was as heated as any in the nation when Mizzu still competed in the Big 12 Conference.
English takes the spot of departed associate head coach Jean Prioleau, who was named the new head coach at San Jose State a week ago.
"The best way to sum up this hire, for a guy who went to Kansas to hire a guy who went to Missouri, you know he must be really good," Boyle said. "He went over and above."
Though his official hiring arrived sooner than Boyle expected — ESPN broke the news earlier this week, yet Boyle said several times he didn't think the personnel move would be finalized before his team departs for Italy on Monday — English will not accompany team on the sojourn through Europe and is expected to assume his duties after the Buffaloes return home.
English spent the past two seasons at Tulsa, joining the staff as the director of player development in 2015 before moving to an assistant coach role. English led Missouri to the Big 12 Conference tournament title in 2012, getting named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Detroit Pistons.
English played 41 games with the Pistons during the 2012-13 season before pro stints in Italy, France, and Venezuela. At 28-years old, English becomes the youngest member of Boyle's staff. While Boyle emphasized age played no factor in the hiring, he also noted English is the sort of mentor who can perhaps relate to CU's players on a different sort of wavelength.
"That was an added bonus," Boyle said. "That was not a deal-breaker in terms of the criteria, but it sure helps. He reminds me of me 19 or 20 years ago. He just got done playing and he's a guy who will have instant credibility with our players. He's mature beyond his years."