After Carl Hall completed his eligibility at Wichita State, he went back and forth for several years with one of his former coaches, Chris Jans, every offseason about whether or not he should make the decision to start coaching.
Now, instead of grabbing rebounds and rock scoring for the Shockers and pro teams overseas, Carl Hall is now a graduate assistant coach at Mississippi State. He was asked by Jans to join his staff at Mississippi.
“It means the world [to] play for your mentor [and] now join his coaching staff” Hall said.
Hall was part of the 2012-13 Men’s Final Four squad in Atlanta. They beat Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, La Salle and Ohio State to get there. They lost to Louisville 72-68 in the Final Four. Louisville won the national championship that season. It was the Shockers’ first trip to the Final Four since 1965.
Hall received numerous accolades during his college basketball career, including the Xavier McDaniel Rebounding Award following the 2012-13 season. That season, he pulled down 218 total rebounds and averaged 6.8 rebounds per game.
“We set a goal to take things to the next level,” Hall said. “I’m just trying to make a name for it.”
After his college career, he played professional basketball for nine years overseas in Japan, Taiwan, Canada, France, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
“I love having Carl on our coaching staff,” said Jans. “He brings a lot of experience to our basketball program. He was a great player at Wichita State and has a lot of winning experience to draw on.”
Hall also coached at his other alma mater Northwest Florida State College with one of his other former college basketball coaches, Greg Heiar. While Hall was on the staff, Northwest Florida State won the NJCAA Division I National Championship.
“I’m sure it was really special for him to be able to not only play there but also come back and give back to the young people that he was given the opportunity to coach last year,” said Jans.
While coaching with Jans, Hall said he realized it takes more preparation than he thought to be a coach at the NCAA Division I level.
“The preparation of everything… the way he does it,” Hall said. “He holds these guys to a certain responsibility. Life is similar to basketball. You have to find a way out.
Graduate assistants, as defined by the NCAA, are not allowed to coach in games, but that hasn’t stopped Hall from mentoring players and giving advice when he can.
“[I’m] I’m just trying to help them get through their tough times and just be positive,” Hall said.
Jans said Hall has many stories about what it’s like to be a professional basketball player.
“I’m not around Carl when he has most of his conversations with our student athletes, but I imagine they look up to him like a big brother knowing he’s been there and done it,” Jans said.
Jans also said having Hall on his staff is unique because graduate assistants are usually players you hire right out of college. He said it’s been 10 years since he coached him at Wichita State.
“I’m lucky to have three former players on my staff from three different institutions I’ve previously worked at,” said Jans. “I love having former players on my staff.”
With Jans in his first season as head coach at Mississippi State, Hall said it can be difficult for a player to learn a new coach’s system. However, he said Mississippi State has a lot of potential to be a great team. The Bulldogs are 12-6 and 1-6 in conference. They lost close games to conference opponents such as Auburn and Georgia.
“We still have a lot of games to play,” Hall said. “The sky is the limit for this team. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.