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.