Florida State assistant coach Charlton Young won’t have to worry about facing Georgia Tech on the court until next season. However, he does have to concern himself with squaring off against Tech in the recruiting arena.
Young, who has effectively recruited metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia for FSU, said that “there is no question” that the Yellow Jackets have raised the level of competition for in-state recruits with the team of coach Josh Pastner and assistant coach Darrl LaBarrie.
“Darryl LaBarrie is one of the finest young assistants in the country,” Young said. “Very well-rounded, very knowledgeable, works really hard. The state of Georgia and Atlanta, they love him. Josh Pastner is a recruiting machine. He has been a recruiting machine since birth. Georgia Tech is going to be a factor from a recruiting standpoint.”
Tech doesn’t hold Young’s foremost attention at present. The second-seeded Seminoles earned a place in the ACC Tournament semifinals for only the fourth time in school history with a 74-68 win over seventh-seeded Virginia Tech Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
The Seminoles improved to 25-7 and will play No. 3 seed Notre Dame at 9 p.m. Friday.
“We feel good about our team,” Young said. “We think we’ve got great chemistry. We think our kids have really matured.”
Against the Hokies, FSU was down eight points in the first half before closing the gap to 35-33 at halftime, then gained control with an 18-2 run that included a dunk and a steal by forward Phil Cofer, a junior whom Young helped recruit from Whitewater High. To Young, it was evidence of the maturity that the team has developed since a pair of late January losses, one of them the 78-56 defeat to Tech at McCamish Pavilion.
“We had to get together and kind of regroup and make them understand that in order to win a championship, you have lessons you have to learn along the way and recover from,” Young said.
And to continue to have a chance at championships, Young will likely need to keep up his work procuring talent like Cofer and Malik Beasley (a Saint Francis grad who was a first-round pick last summer) from the state. It’s territory he knows well. Young was an assistant to former Tech coach Paul Hewitt for four years before taking the head job at Georgia Southern in 2009. (He was dismissed in 2013 and has been at FSU ever since.) He played a major role in bringing together Tech’s 2009 class, which included Derrick Favors, the nation’s No. 1 recruit.
“Atlanta is New York City 30 years ago,” he said. “There’s enough to go around for everybody. I mean, that’s the truth. There’s so many players, and it’s a testimony to the high-school coaches and AAU coaches in the city of Atlanta.”
He cited the example of Tech guard Josh Okogie, who was not even rated by ESPN among its top 19 players in the state of Georgia last year but led the Jackets in scoring and was named to the ACC all-freshman team.
“It happens all the time in Atlanta,” Young said.
He brought up three players — Andrew Goudelock (Stone Mountain High, College of Charleston), MarShon Brooks (Tucker High, Providence) and Kevin Murphy (Creekside High, Tennessee Tech) — who came out of metro Atlanta high schools in 2007 or 2008 and, despite playing at lower-profile colleges, made the NBA.
“These are guys that were barely playing on their AAU teams,” he said.
The bounty may be full, but Pastner’s staff has already bumped up against Young. With a head start, Young has won the commitment of Greenforest Christian Academy center Ikechukwu Obiagu, rated the No. 56 prospect in the 2017 class by ESPN. He is expected to sign with FSU in the spring signing period. The two staffs are also among the competitors for Jonesboro High guard M.J. Walker, rated the No. 19 prospect in the country.
LaBarrie and Young are connected. Young joined Hewitt’s staff in 2005 around the time that LaBarrie was finishing up a graduate assistant term. Young recommended LaBarrie for an assistant coaching job at Campbell University, which became LaBarrie’s first college job in 2006. When Young left Tech to become coach at Georgia Southern in 2009, LaBarrie replaced him on Hewitt’s staff. Young called LaBarrie “a star in the business.”
There may be enough talent to go around, but in coming months and years, that star power may get tested in friendly competition against Young.