7 Potential Assistants for Tom Crean to Consider

Tom Crean’s staff could end up being both local and a bit eclectic.

There is one obvious Assistant Coach who Tom Crean pretty much has to add, Jonas Hayes, but outside of this choice it is all up in the air.  There are still two positions to fill, a Director of Basketball Operations, an Operations Coordinator/Associate and any other additional staffers he wants to add.  Crean’s offseason journey took him to visiting the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Chargers and Corporate America.  Kirby Smart has Quality Control staffers and it is entirely possible that Tom Crean has a former coach serve as a Quality Control staffer.  For the purposes of this article, the other candidates (not named Jonas Hayes) for the Assistant Coach roles are the only ones highlighted.

Sharman White – Georgia State

Sharman White is the former Head Coach and Athletic Director at Miller Grove High School and current Assistant Coach at Georgia State.  White is a very well-connected Head Coach in the Atlanta area.  Associating himself with the flagship institution of the State of Georgia would do wonders for both Georgia and his own ease in the recruiting process.

From an on-the-floor perspective, Sharman White’s experience in Ron Hunter’s system will help Georgia’s zone offense and defense.  Ron Hunter employs a 2-3 Zone on a near exclusive basis, which means that his teams are well-trained at it and know how to attack it from their time in practice.

Sharman White has served at Georgia State for two seasons and he’s more than just a well-connected recruiter, he’ll help shore up development and can even shape offensive and defensive strategy.  This would be a more shrewd hire than anyone would give credit.

Todd Abernethy – Ole Miss

This should be a familiar name.  Abernethy was the gritty and heady Ole Miss Point Guard from the mid-2000s with an underrated three point stroke.  Abernethy was the recruiting coordinator for Andy Kennedy and he picked up some interesting lessons from his experience in this role.  Abernethy eventually became an Assistant Coach and served in that role for three seasons.

Abernethy’s recruiting niche is very different.  He is one of the most connected international recruiters in College Basketball.  His ability to recruit Eastern European stars and bring them to the United States to play on the college level is well-known.

Abernethy was responsible for bringing Tomasz Gielo, Karlis Silins, Dominik Olejniczak and Justas Furmanavicius to Oxford.

Abernethy developed Deandre Burnett, Breein Tyree, Devontae Shuler, Terence Davis and of course… Stefan Moody.

Jamill Jones – Wake Forest

Georgia is a Nike school that recruits heavily on the Nike EYBL circuit.  What region produces the most productive College Basketball players in the country?  Arguably, it’s the Washington D.C. Metro area.  Who was an Assistant Coach for Team Takeover?  Jamill Jones.  Jones was with Team Takeover for five years and served as a skills instructor at the 2012 Nike Skills Summit.

Jones was on Joe Dooley’s staff at Florida Gulf Coast, served on Will Wade’s staff at VCU and was a part of Johnny Dawkins’ staff at Central Florida.

G.G. Smith – Loyola-Maryland

Smith recently resigned as Head Coach after five seasons at Loyola-Maryland.  Smith is a UGA graduate, former letterman, and Tubby Smith’s son.  When Vince Dooley chose not to make any effort to keep Tubby Smith from leaving, G.G. Smith stayed and played for Ron Jirsa.

Smith would bring experience, nostalgia and passion to the role.  He has good mentors in Tubby Smith and Jimmy Patsos.

Bennie Seltzer – Washington State

Seltzer worked under Tom Crean during the toughest years at Indiana.  Seltzer was able to parlay the success he had at Indiana into the Head Coaching job at Samford.  He was an Assistant Coach at Loyola-Chicago before joining Ernie Kent’s staff at his alma mater, Washington State.

Seltzer has connections to the Southeast, but it will be difficult to pry him from his alma mater unless there’s regime change in Pullman.

He brought in Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford to Indiana.  He coached Eduardo Najera, Hollis Price and Ryan Humphrey at Oklahoma while serving under Kelvin Sampson.

Butch Pierre – Memphis

Few are as connected as Butch Pierre.  He has contacts throughout the Southeast and Southland regions.  Pierre has been everywhere and been through almost everything in his long career.

Pierre was a long time Assistant Coach at LSU under John Brady and then he served as Interim Head Coach.  He then served as an Assistant Coach for Travis Ford at Oklahoma State for eight seasons.  He spent a year in Raleigh with Mark Gottfried and then became Director of Player Personnel at Memphis under Tubby Smith.

Pierre is considered one of the best recruiters and developers of talent in College Basketball.  Stromile Swift, Brandon Bass, Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas, Marcus Smart, Jawun Evans, LeBryan Nash and Phil Forte III are just some of the names he has recruited and developed.

Tough to find guys like Pierre out there and he’s now available.

Jeff Battle – Providence

Battle’s connections are predominantly in Virginia and the Carolinas.  Battle’s recruiting was instrumental to the late Skip Prosser and to current ESPN analyst Dino Gaudio when he was at Wake Forest.  He developed Jeff Teague, Chris Paul and Ish Smith at Wake Forest.  At Providence, he worked with Kyron Cartwright.

Battle is a steady hand, strong developer of guards and a strong recruiter with a great resume.  Battle would be a great out-of-state recruiting complement to an in-state staff.  He is capable of going into Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville and Columbia.

Battle is Ed Cooley’s recruiting ace and his track record will make the non-believers… believers.

An 8th Possible Assistant?  Darrin Horn – Texas

Darrin Horn is the Former Head Coach at South Carolina and Western Kentucky.  Horn succeeded Dennis Felton an Dave Odom.  Horn experienced success at Western Kentucky and could not build any momentum at South Carolina despite having the dynamic Devan Downey.

Horn spent a season as an analyst with the SEC Network before joining Shaka Smart’s staff.  Smart is highly linked to the Louisville vacancy and Horn is linked to the Middle Tennessee State vacancy.

Horn is a former Crean assistant from his days at Marquette.

6 comments

  1. Been waiting for this, great inside skinny. All of these guys would be upgrades just like their the new head coach. Looks like Coach has some great choices to dive deeper into Atlanta. Gotta keep the defense and improve the offense.

  2. If TC can assemble a staff that can recruit on par with Kirby Smart and his staff (very tall order) much better days are ahead for UGA basketball!

    1. 3 assistants as far as on the bench/on the road recruiting along with the head coach. Not sure how many are allowed as support staff.

  3. Go get that Fagan kid that played with Upson Lee, he was player of the year and and won titles back to back

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