Hope you’re well. I don’t know if you read the Brian Gregory story that ran this past Sunday, but it mentioned some stuff about Gregory’s efforts to get to know the coaches in metro Atlanta and the state.
To hear things from the other side, I talked to Phil McCrary, the longtime coach at Columbia High, a basketball powerhouse in DeKalb. (He sent Lance Storrs to Tech and Travis Leslie and Jeremy Price to Georgia, among many others.) I didn’t get to include much from him in the story, but thought you’d be interested in his thoughts.
McCrary said he liked Gregory, who told him that he planned to recruit Georgia, although he took that with a grain of salt. “That’s typical with all of them,” McCrary said.
McCrary, naturally, would like to see that happen, and thought that Paul Hewitt spent a lot of time recruiting out of state. It bears mention that Hewitt had plenty of Georgia kids on the roster, but McCrary’s opinion is hardly unique to him. (Hewitt’s final roster included four scholarship players from outside Georgia. By comparison, Georgia has one player from outside the state.) It should be noted that Bobby Cremins did the same.
“He got (Gani) Lawal and (Mfon) Udofia and all those kids, but with state institutions, I’d love to see them loaded down with Georgia kids,” said McCrary, who said he gives in-state coaches “first crack” at his kids and encourages his players to look in-state first. “I hate to look at the NCAA tournament and then you see a lot of Georgia kids playing with out-of-state teams.”
As I mentioned in the story, Gregory appears serious about recruiting the state, as his first two hires were assistants with plenty of experience recruiting Atlanta, Chad Dollar and Josh Postorino. McCrary has known Dollar, the son of longtime Douglass High coach Donald Dollar, since he was a kid.
“Very coachable young man, very responsible young man,” McCrary said of Dollar. “He used basketball to get a good education. Now he’s trying to give back to the game.”
Gregory made a good start with McCrary in his mid-April visit to the school. He told him he was going to start recruiting his star rising senior Jarmal Reid – Hewitt hadn’t been recruiting him, McCrary said, although he didn’t know the reason. McCrary told Gregory about a couple younger players, whom Gregory returned to watch at an open gym and then told McCrary he was interested in them, also.
“He’s going to have a lot of work to do now,” McCrary said of Gregory. “Kids want to go to a winning program and that’s what he’s really going to have to build at Tech.”