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SMU's Larry Brown makes big-time hire to get Texas kids

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Larry Brown is in business now.

The 71-year-old can coach. We know that. But the question was whether he could assemble a staff at SMU that could get him players. Big East-caliber players.

The staff of Jerrance Howard and Rod Strickland was solid, but didn't blow me away. Howard has been in Texas, but his strength in clearly in Illinois -- and Strickland hasn't done a thing on the recruiting trail.

Strickland, who has multiple DUI's on his record, is staying at Kentucky in his non-coaching role -- and Brown has hired someone who can make major inroads in the Lone Star State.

Ulric Maligi.

The Houston Chronicle reported and CBSSports.com has confirmed that Brown has hired Maligi, a young, charismatic assistant who is as well-connected in the state as anyone. He was an AAU coach with the Dallas Mustangs, then spent time at Stephen F. Austin and has been with James Dickey at Houston for the last coupe years.

Maligi was the lead recruiter on both Danuel House and Danrad "Chicken" Knowles, a pair of Top 100 prospects who both inked with the Cougars.

House was ranked No. 27 in the CBSSports.com Top 100 and Knowles checked in at No. 78, per our resident recruiting guru Jeff Borzello.

I'm still not sold on Brown -- who hasn't been in the college game since many of you reading this were in diapers. He's a short-term fix.

We're still in a holding pattern on whether Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich comes with Brown as the coach-in-waiting.

But that may not matter. With Howard and now Maligi getting him kids, the Mustangs may not need Jon Koncak to walk through the door.

They may have plenty of talent.

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