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Jerrance Howard joins Kansas' staff

Kansas coach Bill Self hired Jerrance Howard to be an assistant coach on Friday, plucking one of the top recruiters from Larry Brown's coaching staff at SMU.

ESPN.com on Wednesday reported a verbal agreement between Howard and the Jayhawks.

Howard played three seasons (2000 to 2003) under Self at Illinois and later returned to his alma mater as an assistant. He spent five years on Bruce Weber's staff before joining Larry Brown at SMU prior to last season.

Howard has also worked in an administrative role for Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M and Kentucky.

Howard, 33, is nationally regarded as one of the top young assistants, particularly when it comes to recruiting. He was instrumental in helping SMU land four-star shooting guard Keith Frazier, the first McDonald's All American in school history. He also helped the Mustangs sign coveted center Yanick Moreira, the country's top-ranked junior college post player.

Howard replaces longtime Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, who left last month to become the head coach at Florida Gulf Coast. Dooley had been with Self since he arrived in Lawrence back in 2003.

It may seem surprising that Self filled the vacancy by plucking one of the top assistants from Brown's staff. Self views Brown as a mentor and close friend, and Brown has always been among Self's top supporters.

Self, though, was determined to make the best possible hire to replace Dooley, who was one of KU's top recruiters. He specifically wanted someone who could fare well in the state of Texas.

Howard certainly fits the mold, and it doesn't hurt that he's close friends with Brooklyn Nets star and former college teammate Deron Williams, a Texas native.

Howard also gained vital experience recruiting talent-rich Chicago during his time at Illinois.