Monday, August 10, 2009

New Basketball Assistant Coach

So, it's started to leak out that the new assistant coach to replace Charlton Young will be former GT guard and current ECU assistant coach Darryl Labarrie. This hasn't been officially confirmed by the GTAA, but I expect the announcment will be made any day now.

Darryl is considered to be a very promising rising star in the coaching community and Labarrie has strong ties to the Atlanta AAU scene and is an excellent recruiter. Since Young was the primary recruiter, especially for the key Atlanta area, Labarrie should slide in and take over many of those responsibilities immediately. I'm excited to see a GT guy do well, and Labarrie certainly has a strong resume already for a young coach.

This hire probably won't go over well with many who are frustrated with the current state of the program, and who would like to see another older experienced voice on the bench. In fact, I expect this hire to create quite a bit of negative backlash in certain parts of the GT fanbase. This hire wasn't for that though, this hire was to replace Coach Young, and to fill the hole of head recruiter and find someone with strong ties to the Atlanta Celtics and other AAU programs in the southeast. Under that list of requirements, Labarrie is probably the best hire that could have possibly been made - he's young, he has a history with GT, he's known as being a very hard worker and he's a terrific recruiter.

Much like a roster of players, a roster of coaches is built to meet a broad range of challenges and with skillsets that compliment each other. Just as a team of a dozen centers would be deficient in ball handling and outside shooting, a roster of coaches that all have the same strengths can be deficient in other areas. Labarrie seems from the outside to be yet another young coach known for being a strong recruiter, which is a very important skillset in college basketball, and he fits a the hole left by Coach Young.

If there's to be a critique of the current staff for a lack of experience or gravitas on the bench, it should be a critique of the members of the staff who are in those roles right now. Both coaches O'Connor and Zaharis are long time career assistant coaches with a depth of experience outside of GT's program and should have those roles covered. The role that Coach Young had was empty when he left for Georgia Southern, and Labarrie moves into that spot now. Having a program without a lead recruiter is just like having a team without a point guard ... and we all know how that story ends.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the hire of Darryl Labarrie. He is a very capable young coach. Tech definitely needs to find another strong recruiter like you said...and he can fill that role. You are spot on they have enough experience on the bench, and need someone who can related to players and go out and get them.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Why does Tech need another good recruiter? They basically just cherry-pick elite talent from Georgia, who happen to also like the idea of living in Atlanta.

Maybe they should hire someone who can teach basic point guard skills. I hear that Bobby Hurley is available.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Tech needs "another" good recruiter because right now there isn't one on the staff. Charlton Young left, and when he left the staff lost their key recruiter.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

So Paul Hewitt isn't a good recruiter? I'm assuming by "staff", you are referring to the assistants. The problem there, is that assistants can be very overrated.

For example, KU had quite a bit of turnover in among assistant coaches when Bill Self first started at Kansas. He didn't exactly struggle.

Roy Williams has notoriously bad assistants. Calipari only has assistants so he can have plausible deniability when the crap hits the fan.

Assistants are only really influential if a coach has a particular weakness (or doesn't really focus) on an important area in the college basketball landscape. I don't think Paul Hewitt has a difficult time connecting with young athletes.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous BumbleBee said...

With all the things that go along with a college basketball program and in the ACC, a head coach has too many things to worry about than to be on the road all the time. I don't agree that assistants are overrated. A lot of people that don't know the GT program don't understand the importance of Charlton Young. He got ALL of those recruits that came in. The kids love his personality. Its often the assistant coaches that make those recruiting calls and come to the games.....unless of course you are a Derrick Favors (Hewitt will show up for that).

Georgia Tech's recruiting is not only can say its been national. Most of the time they pull players from the SE region, however who can forget about Chris Bosh (Texas), Jarrett Jack (MD), Thaddeus Young (Memphis), Iman Shumpert (Illinois). There is no question Hewitt can't visit all the 40+ TRUE prospects they have each year, and go to their games, while trying to run a program, practice, radio show, alumni events, meeting with corporate sponsors, golfing events, etc.

Assistants are overrated?????

7:31 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I'm not suggesting that assistant coaches don't do all the things you just listed; I'm suggesting that the particular assistant coach you "land" isn't as monumental as some fanbases like to think it is.

Some particular assistants give you in-roads to certain geographic regions and help you connect with athletes that you might not otherwise connect with. But most assistants at big programs (and even Georgia Tech) have a special regional connection. A coach like Hewitt isn't going to hire someone if they don't.

The head coach is usually the most important piece of a recruit's decision (except at KState) - recruits have made that clear for years. Assistants can help a coach get in a door, but the coach must be able to close the deal.

And head coaches make more of those phone calls and go to more games than you clearly think. Remember why Kelvin Sampson got in trouble? Bill Self just recently got in trouble for his interactions with a recruit during a game he was attending. Sure, assistant coaches make MORE of the games, but a recruit often judges the schools on his list by how often a head coach shows up to games and does some of those things, rather than passing those things down to assistants.

Assistants are important, but there's quite a bit of evidence to suggest that schools do just fine even after losing their "best assistant".

8:46 AM  

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