Bruin Report Online has learned that UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland has hired Korey McCray as his new assistant coach.
McCray is known mostly for being a coach with one of the best AAU programs in the country, the Atlanta Celtics.
BRO reported that Howland had pretty much decided on McCray as soon as Scott Duncan left UCLA for Wyoming.
The Celtics have produced players such as Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Javaris Crittenton, and Derrick Favors.
McCray has personally worked with Howard, John Wall and other NBA players.
McCray has served different stints as the CEO and Head Coach of the Atlanta Celtics since 1999. The Atlanta Celtics is an AAU travelling team that his father, Karl McCray, co-founded in 1990 with Wallace Prather. The Atlanta Celtics is a non-profit, grassroots basketball program to encourage children to make good decisions utilizing the team sport of basketball as a channel to teach life-changing skills. He led his 15 and Under team to a national title in 2009 and has consistently produced teams at all ages ranked in the top 10 in the country.
Currently in the Atlanta Celti program are a couple of players UCLA has been recruiting – Jordan Adams, the 6-5 small forward from Mouth of Wilson (Virg.) Oak Hill, and 6-7 power forward William Goodwin, from Decatur (Georg.) Southwest Dekalb.
UCLA's Official Release:
LOS ANGELES - UCLA men's basketball head coach, Ben Howland, announced today the hiring of Korey McCray to the post of assistant coach. McCray replaces Scott Duncan, who left to become Larry Shyatt's associate head coach at Wyoming on April 5, 2011.
McCray, who spent the 2007-08 season as an assistant coach at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., for head coach Mark Slonaker, has been working since 2004 as a skill development trainer with some of the NBA's biggest stars. Working with the Atlanta and Georgia-based NBA athletes, he created tailor-made, off-season training programs for a roster of talented players like Dwight Howard, John Wall, Javaris Crittenton, Anthony Morrow, Jarrett Jack, Acie Law, Von Wafer, Mario West and Damien Wilkins, to name a few.
"I'm very excited to be announcing that Korey McCray has joined our staff," Howland said. "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."
McCray was a student-athlete at Mercer University, playing all four years for Coach Slonaker for the Mercer Bears basketball team. He was named team captain for the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 campaigns. He earned his bachelor's degree in communications from Mercer with a major in Theatre and Arts and a minor in Christianity. He went on to attain his master's degree in Adult Education with a minor in Higher Education from Florida State in 2004.
While at Florida State, he served two seasons (2002-03 to 2003-04) as a graduate assistant coach for the men's basketball team and Coach Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles reached the NIT in 2003.
"I'm extremely excited to be at UCLA," McCray said. "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."
After McCray graduated from Florida State, he served as an assistant coach under Greg Heiar at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., for the 2004-05 season. That year, the Indians lost in the semifinals of the National Junior College Championships.