AAU coach joins UCLA basketball staff


Ben Howland on Tuesday finally made official the long-rumored hire of Korey McCray as an assistant coach.

McCray, 32, has been the CEO of the Atlanta Celtics, one of the top AAU teams in the country and one which has produced numerous elite NBA elite players such Dwight Howard, Josh Smith and Amare Stuodamire.

His hire figures to give UCLA a recruiting pipeline to such talent in the coming years.

"I'm very excited to be announcing that Korey McCray has joined our staff," Howland said in a statement released by the school. "I'm looking forward to him developing in every area. He will be a great asset in the development and mentoring of our players, in on the floor coaching and in recruiting."

Clearly, recruiting is McCray's biggest asset. He has limited experience in coaching at the college level. He spent the 2007-08 season as an assistant his alma mater, Mercer University, was an assistant in 2004-05 at Chipola College in Florida and was a graduate assistant at Florida State for two seasons in 2002-04. He has also run a skill development camp since 2004.

He's not the typical candidate for a storied program such as UCLA, but by bringing in someone with so little experience and such strong ties to the influential AAU circuit, Howland is basically conceding that his current recruiting strategies need an upgrade.

"I'm extremely excited to be at UCLA," McCray said in a statement. "It is an amazing university and has a great history in basketball, academics and throughout the entire athletic program. I couldn't be at a better place. I believe in education and developing student-athletes into a well-rounded person, including basketball, education, values, morals, personal relationships. There is no place better that represents that than UCLA."

McCray replaces Scott Duncan, who left UCLA to become an assistant at Wyoming. McCray will begin his duties immediately, just in time for the July recruiting period.