Hopefully you read my story posted Thursday night about Georgia Tech assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie, which hopefully offers a little bit of insight into who he is and how he figures to aid coach Josh Pastner’s efforts to return the Yellow Jackets to national prominence.
There were a few things that I couldn't fit into the story pertaining to recruiting that I thought you might find interesting.
First, LaBarrie has been taken by Pastner’s zeal for recruiting. Back in June when we spoke, he said he had never been a part of a staff that had had so many unofficial visits in such a short period of time.
“I don’t think I’m exaggerating this,” he said. “I think in the last month, I’ve been a part of more unofficial visits than I have in my other nine years of coaching, combined. We’ve had two and three kids come in in a day. We just have a lot of work to do.”
There is reason for the high volume. First, given that Tech has not made the NCAA tournament since 2010, there's a dire need to upgrade talent. Further, Tech will have six open scholarships for the 2017 class, and the rising senior class in the state of Georgia, as has been noted previously, is loaded. There are 10 players from inside the state’s borders in ESPN’s top 100 prospects (three are already committed elsewhere).
“A lot of people don’t know us as a group, so we’re just getting a lot of face-to-face interaction and laying out our vision for the program, what we perceive that particular player doing for us in the future and then also getting a start on some younger kids so we don’t have so much catching up to do with the ’18 and ’19 classes,” LaBarrie said. “Because we’re behind in ’17 already.”
Tech has not received any commitments to date, but is in the picture with multiple elite recruits. Pace Academy power forward (ESPN No. 2) has included Tech in his final eight. Guard Collin Sexton from Pebblebrook (ESPN No. 26) put Tech in his top 10. Four-star guard J.J. Chandler from Katy, Texas, included Tech in his final nine.
“We’re all just plugging away every single day,” LaBarrie said. “Not a whole lot of off time. I think that’s why the golf analogy got blown up or blown out of proportion. But what I think he was trying to say in general terms was we just have a lot of work to do and we’re going to be working consistently every single day, so there’s not a lot of time for extracurricular activities outside of your family stuff and the job that we’re in at this current moment.”
No one more so than Pastner himself, according to LaBarrie.
“I would say Paul (Hewitt), he was probably the best (recruiter) that I’ve been around,” said LaBarrie, who was a grad assistant and then an assistant coach to Hewitt. “But Josh is unreal. I don’t think the guy sleeps or eats. He just coaches and recruits all day long. He’s always sending us information, he’s always talking to people. He’s just so high energy that it makes you raise your level or you look bad.”