Now that UCLA has hired Atlanta AAU coach, will Georgia’s top recruits follow?

Georgia's No 1 prospect: William "Shaq" Goowin (AJC photo)

Georgia's No 1 prospect: William "Shaq" Goowin (AJC photo)

Now that the basketball coach of one of Atlanta’s top AAU or summer travel teams has been hired by UCLA, will his top players follow him to California?

Korey McCray, the CEO of the Atlanta Celtics AAU team, was announced as an assistant coach at UCLA on Tuesday. (Go here for the full story)

Two of the Atlanta Celtics top players, power forward Shaq Goodwin of Southwest DeKalb High School and shooting guard Jordan Adams of Oak Hill (Va.) prep school, both hold early basketball scholarships offers from UCLA.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Goodwin is considered the state’s No. 1 college basketball prospect for 2012. Goodwin said his leaders are “Georgia, Memphis, UCLA, Florida and Alabama.”

Goodwin claims no favorite, but acknowledges that UCLA has a better chance after hiring the man who coached him in AAU for the past three years.

“It will help a little bit because I will know somebody when I go out there sometime this summer,” Goodwin said.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Adams toured UCLA last week, but claims McCray’s presence won’t affect his college decision. “He’s a great person, but it won’t make a difference with where I go,” said Adams, who previously played at Central Gwinnett High School.

Adams said he will make at least one other recruiting trip this summer, visiting Memphis. He lists his top offers as “Georgia, Georgetown, UCLA, Memphis, Miami and Tennessee.”

What will be the recruiting impact of McCray’s move to UCLA with Georgia prospects? The state has one of its deepest classes in years for 2012, with 14 ranked in the the Rivals Top 150. At least 23 rising seniors across Georgia hold scholarship offers from high-major schools, compared with about a dozen from this past season. We discussed the topic with Dan McDonald, who covers basketball recruiting for the Georgia and Georgia Tech websites at Rivals.com.

1. What do you think about UCLA’s decision to hire an AAU coach in general? I think it’s a great hire for UCLA. A lot of people see this hire as strictly for a recruiting advantage in Atlanta but Korey is a very good young coach. He has some experience in college coaching at FSU and Mercer and what most people don’t know is that he’s also been training some of the top NBA players like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, and a few others for the last several years. If UCLA didn’t hire him, I have no doubt somebody else would have eventually hired him.

2. How do you think hiring an Atlanta AAU coach will affect UCLA’s recruiting efforts in the Atlanta area? Having Korey on the staff will obviously get UCLA in the door for many of the top kids around Atlanta because he’s very well-respected as a person and coach, but I still think it’s going to be hard for them to pull kids all the way across the country. It’s just really hard to get kids to go over 2,000 miles away from home, but I do think Korey will get some kids from Atlanta to go play for him. In the 2012 class alone, Jordan Adams and Shaq Goodwin both have UCLA in their top 5 and Tony Parker might give UCLA some consideration as well. [Note: Parker, who is from Miller Grove High School and holds offers from Duke and North Carolina, plays part-time with the Atlanta Celtics]

Tony Parker, Brandon Morris

Nobody in Georgia has more offers than PF Tony Parker (No. 32), who is being targeted by Duke and North Carolina, among others. Parker and his Miller Grove teammate, SG Brandon Morris (31), will return from an unofficial visit to Memphis on Thursday (AJC photo)

3. What do you think Korey McCray specifically will bring to the table as a recruiter? As a recruiter, he’s a younger guy that high school kids can relate to. Nobody, even from rival AAU programs, ever has anything negative to say about him, which speaks volumes about him as a person. He’s got contacts all over the NBA so kids will see him as somebody that can help them eventually achieve their dream of playing in the league.

4. Is AAU more important than a high school coach for a recruiting a top prospect? If so why? It really just depends on the kid. Some kids are really close with their AAU coach and prefer for them to handle their recruitment. Some kids are closer with their high school coach and want them to be a big part of the process. You also sometimes have parents that don’t want anybody else but their immediate family to be a major influence. AAU coaches are always going to be involved in a kid’s recruitment just because that’s where most kids get seen by college coaches and that’s who the college coaches usually contact first to get in with a kid. After that, it’s really just up to the kid and his family.

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog Got a recruiting item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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53 comments Add your comment

Reaper

June 9th, 2011
6:22 am

First. I know that this is their AAU coach but, these kids need to see the bigger picture. Why do they think that UCLA hired him? If these kids leave the state, it is because they wanted to in the beginning. A lot of the kids don’t seem to want to give Coach Fox and UGA a shot and he is a good or better coach than these other schools have. Should have very little outcome on their recruitment.

txfood

June 9th, 2011
6:51 am

txfood

June 9th, 2011
6:58 am

Good luck to Coach McCray. The UCLA job is a great opportunity. The state of Georgia is a hot bed for college recruiters. The fact that these talented kids also have UGA on their short list says alot about the great job that Coach Fox is doing at Georgia.

Beast from the East

June 9th, 2011
7:18 am

Great hire. Atlanta is a hotbed for hoops talent and he should provide them with an advantage in recruiting this area for a couple of years. The new GT coach shoould have looked at adding him to his staff.

Go figure

June 9th, 2011
8:23 am

High School basketball recruiting is more corrupt than football recruiting. And that is saying something. These kids are swayed by brokers. The player is the pawn.

Time for grown men to stop living vicariously through teenaged boys. Something really creepy about that.

KeithB

June 9th, 2011
8:55 am

I would actually like to see these kids stay in the state. UGA may be a force if they do.

JB

June 9th, 2011
9:03 am

I like Fox. We were a Football school. I would like to see us get back to being a football school.
Duke will never be a football power. We will never be a basketball power. The elite will always end up at the basketball powers, with a plum or two hitting Athens every now and then. End of story!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 9th, 2011
9:06 am

The question is why did Fox not entertain the same thing that UCLA did in hiring him? He is right that it may be tough to get gets to go 2k miles but what about right down the road to Athens? Why not UGA?

ThatGuy

June 9th, 2011
9:10 am

That’s a good thought Lowcountry, especially with McCrary’s college coach, Mark Slonaker, now working for UGA, there is definitely a connection there.

RxDawg

June 9th, 2011
9:26 am

“We will never be a basketball power”

Florida won the national championship in men’s B-ball and football in the same year. To say that is naive. Yes, football is more important to me as well but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see our basketball team kick some but too.

Texas Pete

June 9th, 2011
9:46 am

JB is the reason why UGA is a 2nd tier force in college sports. It wasn’t too long ago that Florida was a 2nd tier football program usually failing to win the SEC because UGA would beat them. Florida wasn’t worth mentioning in basketball. All of a sudden, they are a force in both sports as well as the other low profile sports.

Take away football and men’s basketball, UGA might be the best program in the SEC over the past 20 years. Winning comes from a positive attitude of trying to be the best no matter what task is ahead. It isn’t about who can claim they love their school (sport) the most.

When it comes to football and men’s basketball, high profile success in one can help with recruiting in the other.

RxDawg gets it.

chilidawg

June 9th, 2011
9:48 am

The state of Georgia has 13 football prospects in the ESPN 150 for 2012. Six of them have already committed to schools out of state. Zero have committed to the dawgs. GET TO WORK!

UGAG is gitting the ncaa death penalty, he he ha ha

June 9th, 2011
9:59 am

Always the whining about “why not uga?” It gets old, the world does not revolve about Athens and especially not around UGAG.

redeagle4

June 9th, 2011
10:09 am

Pretty obvious why he was hired at UCLA. Just shows what a head coach will do to keep his job.

DawginLex

June 9th, 2011
10:10 am

Hopefully, Fox will hang around like Donovan has done at UF. If you remember, Donovan was not well liked in a lot of gator circles for a few years and then he got lightning in a bottle with a recruiting class that wasn’t that highly thought of.

TO THE TROLL IDIOT CALLING US UGAG

You really, really need to get some new material son. Your momma and all the other TROLLS are griping big time about your lack of creativity.

Your momma expects more from her little boy.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 9th, 2011
10:12 am

Not whining pretty pertinent to the topic. The AAU coach was right in the backyard of UGA so how is it that a coach 2k miles away understands the potential importance of the young man, but Fox does not pursue him. Its actually a good journalist point that may want to get pursued. Fairly relevant to a upstart basketball program in a state that will have so many impact players coming out next year. But you disdain for all things UGA tent your vision on what is whining and what just may be a valid point. So continue on in your disdain for the program as it is STILL GREAT TO BE A GEORGIA BULLDOG!!!!

Outside Observer

June 9th, 2011
10:24 am

Lowcountry,
To be fair, the coach was in Tech’s backyard. And after a recent new hiring at head coach, if he was a top assistant candidate, I feel he would have gotten a good look from Tech. Since he is not part of the new staff, either Tech wasn’t interested in him, or he was more interested in moving across the country. We will see what effect this has on the decisions of several young men in this recruiting class.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 9th, 2011
10:26 am

To be fair do Adams or Goodwin have Tech in there Top 5, BUT they do have UGA. He is not mentioned as a top assistant for UCLA.

juvenal

June 9th, 2011
10:38 am

so ucla has done what lately? they scheduling any east coast games, so the kids can get home some(air fare to the coast high these days)?family want to stay up till 1AM to see you on espn? desperate move, we’ll see how it plays out…..

The Ole Ball Coach

June 9th, 2011
10:42 am

UGA could be a top tier Basketball school – they need a dream team of top state of Georgia players
to get it rolling. Thats all…

blah

June 9th, 2011
10:42 am

Maybe he will take Daivd Boyd with him!! Now that is funny!!

Correct me if I am wrong but the NCAA implemented a rule preventing one of his AAU players from following him because of the situation that happend at K-State correct? Beasley and Frank Martin.

Outside Observer

June 9th, 2011
10:55 am

Lowcountry, I feel you completely missed my point. He was a potential assistant coach. Georgia Tech was looking for assistant coaches. Geographically, it makes sense he would have been considered (same holds true for UGA, except UGA wasn’t hiring assistant coaches to my knowledge). The interests of the players have no relevance in his hiring.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 9th, 2011
10:55 am

You are right in GaTech needing coaches and he is in the backyard, obviously, but player interest is pretty significant. Each just happen to have UCLA in the Top 5.

Hewitt fan

June 9th, 2011
10:59 am

You all heard it first…UCLA is going to win a national championship in 2 or 3 years!..Our players are already getting more and more excited about Coach mc going out west…Gt will never get another Celtic…Mark Fox will get his share, he is a good coach and and his team plays in a conference that lets the kids play no matter who the coach is!..GT plays in the a conference that is all about 2 teams and the refs control the games..also with the way GT fan base let Mark Bradley determine CPH fate, The celtics will no longer sed players to GT!

Outside Observer

June 9th, 2011
11:14 am

Hewitt fan, Paul Hewitt determined his own fate. One winning season in the ACC. Ever. He had a massive contract to live up to, and he couldn’t come close to it. It was best for both parties to end the relationship.

Hewitt fan

June 9th, 2011
11:19 am

1 last thing,

WE ARE LOADED..if you thought we were loaded last year with Big Jacobs and Kevin Ware..Goodwin is a beast, right now UGA leads, he really likes football better, he plays TE.Also we have at least 5 D1 quality guards including Jordan..Tony Parker will not be attending GT, i heard it out of his mouth….I am not going to release his name, but we have a monster on our 16u team..I think right now he is the top player in GA..This is a loaded year for GA and GT will not get any of the top 20 players in the state..TRUE FACT

Rip Van Winkle

June 9th, 2011
11:21 am

Hope UGA wakes up because Florida , Clemson and South Carolina are putting emphasis on the big three sports while UGA seems to lag. The excuse that UGA is more concerned with football is a cop out. UGA has beens asleep at the wheel when it should have won mutiple championships.

Hewitt fan

June 9th, 2011
11:22 am

@Outside Observer “Hewitt fan, Paul Hewitt determined his own fate. One winning season in the ACC. Ever”

the refs determine the games over there…Thats why all the coaches get fired, but they all get good jobs after. Haith never won at Miami, he could coach and had good players, but was fired..Mizzou hired him as soon as possible..Purnell left Clemson for depaulleonard Hamilton had a final four caliber team, but finish 3rd in the ACC…Gary Williams got robbed for years over there, he finnaly got the hell out of town..The AAU circuit, and high school coaches understand whats going on over there, thats why the top recruits are headed to the SEC, Big 12 nd now pac12..NC will get their share anyway, but Williams has noticed that recruits are not just running over there like they used to…

[...] Writes Michael Carvell in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: [...]

juvenal

June 9th, 2011
11:32 am

might get a decent ed at ucla(as if that mattered any more)…….

Outside Observer

June 9th, 2011
11:38 am

Was it the ref’s fault we typically shot less than 35% from the field? Was it the ref’s fault we had a team free throw percentage in the 60s? The refs play a part in the outcome of games at times, but there is no excuse for poor fundamentals and lack of execution. That falls back on the coach.

RamblinRed

June 9th, 2011
12:41 pm

Hewitt Fan,

I know you are upset about how things happened at GT, but frankly it was Paul’s fault (and this from someone who really likes Paul and supported him strongly for 7 yrs). I don’t expect GT to get any Celtics this year or maybe the next couple of years, but unlike 10-15 years ago, the Celtics no longer have a lock on the best talent in the area. There are more AAU teams now with talent given the influx of people into Atlanta.

Gregory ended up hiring 3 people (2 assts and the DBO) with extensive ties to Atlanta. I believe when all is said and done GT stands a strong chance of signing 2-3 of the top 15 players in the state this year.

I also wish someone would tell Goodwin to pick a sport. If he continues to try to play both he will not reach his potential in either.

RamblinRed

This is why B-Ball stinks today

June 9th, 2011
5:21 pm

If Idaho had 3 of the top five or six prospects in any given year do you think ucla and others would hire their coaches that year as assistants? Damn straight they would. Basketball is the most cheating and scandalous sport. A bunch of sleazeballs everywhere. Coaches, players, and parents. Parents ought to be ashamed they let their own kids put basketball above everything else in their lives. DISGUSTING!

Most moronic post goes to...

June 9th, 2011
6:34 pm

Hewitt fan

NC will get their share anyway, but Williams has noticed that recruits are not just running over there like they used to…
——–
UNC brought in 3 McDAA’s in 2010 (Barnes, Bullock and Marshall)
In 2011 they have 2 McDAA’s coming in – McAdoo and Hairston

The only team in the nation with more McDAA’s over the last few years is Kentucky.

Yep, no top basketball recruit wants to go to Chapel Hill to play in front of 24,000 fans for a hall of fame coach who has won 2 NC’s and coached in 7 Final Fours.

Einsteindawg

June 9th, 2011
6:38 pm

Most of these “top recruits” are the dregs of society…their one goal is to make the NBA jackpot. Who cares where they go. I’m ready for college football.

Go Tigers

June 9th, 2011
7:34 pm

Damien Wilson’s committed….add Parker and Goodwin and I can see Memphis in another title game. Hopefully those guy’s can shoot free throws.

pjbrave

June 9th, 2011
10:54 pm

GOOD JOB COACH McCray aka Butter!!!!!!!!!! The Cedar Grove family is proud!!

More delusional posts from...

June 9th, 2011
11:21 pm

Hewitt fan
June 9th, 2011
11:22 am

Leonard Hamilton had a final four caliber team…
Gary Williams was robbed for years….
————-
FSU lost in the Sweet 16 – hardly “Final FOur caliber”
Gary Williams was so badly robbed in the 2009-10 season (i.e. the one before last), that MD finished in 1st place in the regular season in the ACC

juvenal

June 10th, 2011
7:57 am

hewitfan, 1 of our complaints with cph was his lousy assistants after San An’-so, if he was so smart, why didn’t HE hire this guy? does George Mason not have a blog you can haunt?

Peoples

June 10th, 2011
8:49 am

Go West Young man Bless you Korey Now Be a Blessing to others Coach Peoples Dynasty Basketball

Hewitt Fan

June 10th, 2011
9:00 am

@Most moronic post goes to…

Williams was forced to take the Wear twins and Drew after failing to get who he really wanted….In the AAU circuit no one cares about an Mcdonalds All american game…We know who the best players are, you don’t…

Gary Williams was robbed time and time again in the ACC..Do you remember the final four against Duke when Gumbel thought the game was riggged?..I post only facts

juvenal

June 10th, 2011
9:53 am

Cremins approach to the biased acc refs was to get in their face & draw T’s-how often did cph do that? hope Gregory stands up for his team more…….

JustMyOpinion

June 10th, 2011
3:30 pm

Good hire UCLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Outside Observer

June 10th, 2011
7:03 pm

Hewitt fan, again with your “facts”. “leonard Hamilton had a final four caliber team”- Opinion. And incorrect as well. Florida State had some good players and played solid D, but lacked an offense. “the GT fan base let Mark Bradley determine CPH fate”- Again opinion, and quite wrong again. A reporter only has so much effect on a fanbase. The boos at the beginning of every game for Hewitt were not because of an article written in the AJC. “UCLA is going to win a national championship in 2 or 3 years!”- again, opinion and this is your only opinion that has a prayer of being correct. This doesn’t set a high standard for you. “This is a loaded year for GA and GT will not get any of the top 20 players in the state..TRUE FACT” not a fact, opinion. It could happen, but not likely. Unless the top twenty players are all Atlanta Celtics, you personally tell every one of them to eliminate a great school because of one person’s distaste, and you are sure each one of them gets great “bonuses” for signing at other schools. Actually, it all makes sense now. To still be a Paul Hewitt fan means you must be crazy. You must also be a fan of Duke football, the Detroit Lions, and the Memphis Grizzlies.

whisty

June 10th, 2011
9:05 pm

the short term prognosis is that it may be viewed as a recruiting hire, since howland has not recruited eastern kids. the longer term, however, is far more important. howland has needed a “buffer” to communicate with the younger kids. howland is an old school strict disciplinarian, and when he lost keating and ziegler, he lost two very important communicators.

Another moronic post from...

June 11th, 2011
11:48 am

Hewitt Fan

June 10th, 2011
9:00 am
@Most moronic post goes to…

Gary Williams was robbed time and time again in the ACC..Do you remember the final four against Duke when Gumbel thought the game was riggged?..I post only facts
——————-
Hewitt fan’s example of Gary Williams being robbed by ACC refs is an NCAA Final Four game from over 10 years ago that was not officiated by ACC refs. Classic!

Who used the Wear twins as examples of good players? Roy has brought in plenty of top players since they left. Are you trying to tell me that Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, James McAdoo aren’t good?
I also love the comments about McDAA’s not being good players. Aren’t you the same guy who has been touting Atlanta area players are who were McDAA’s (Crittenton, Favors, Lawal, Singleton, etc)?

Outside Observer

June 11th, 2011
4:46 pm

Crittenton has certainly been a great ambassador for maturity and good behavior in the NBA. I hope my kid ends up just like him…

The Sports Dude

June 14th, 2011
12:21 pm

@ whisty… You’re spot-on in your assessment of Coach Howland. Coach Howland is an old school disciplinarian. He’s a grinder and a gym rat, and sometimes that doesn’t translate to kids right away. He’s matriculated quite a stable of talent to the NBA (Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jordan Farmar, Ryan Hollins) and each one is a solid contributor to their respective teams. They might not have been the flashiest in college, but they were NBA-ready, and scouts have an immense appreciation for the product Coach Howland delivers. UCLA’s problems the past couple years has been the players inability to immediately buy into a program and mindset that achieved three consecutive trips to the Final Four. What Coach McCray brings is a youthful injection to bridge the gap between Howland’s old school mentality and today’s young athletes. Coach McCray isn’t merely an AAU Coach, but he has an undisputed pedigree of preparing talent for the NBA. This hire will benefit UCLA’s national recruiting, which has been virtually nonexistent the past few years. Those three Final Four teams were built around California kids and Kevin Love from Oregon. UCLA is a destination school, not just athletically (most NCAA championships), but academically as well (nation’s most applied to university). If UCLA’s national recruiting profile improves, it will be a force to be reckoned with year in, year out.

[...] Now that UCLA has hired Atlanta AAU coach, will Georgia’s top basketball recruits follow? [...]

sporty

August 5th, 2011
2:00 pm

Greatt!!! It took someone across the country to notice McCray’s talent and connections. The man had to capitalize on a job, this is a recession. Atlanta is full of talent, period!! Smart, early decision by the “Adams” kid. By the way, I’ve seen this kid play and shoots better than some nba players right now.It is clear that Jordan Adams experience with AAU celtics, Oakhill academy, now Ben Howland, and McCray again is a pretty good path. Plus the kid will get a great education at UCLA. Looks like he’s a winner already. God bless n the west!! Congrats to Korey, Jordan!!