Q & A: Korey McCray

LSU's newest basketball assistant is set to begin life full-time in Baton Rouge. Before making the move from Los Angeles, McCray spoke with TSD's Ben Love about his role on the staff, objectives in recruiting and what the Tigers are returning on the 2013-14 roster. Read it all inside.

The newest member of the LSU coaching staff, Korey McCray, leaves Los Angeles late Thursday afternoon on a plane that that will take him to Baton Rouge for good.

Before McCray, a former assistant at UCLA, took off for the Bayou State, I caught up with him for a question-and-answer session that previews his duties on Johnny Jones' staff.

In the interview below, McCray talks openly about his goals in recruiting, what position he may coach, his interview process and what he thinks of the LSU basketball brand name.

Here is the full transcript.

Ben Love: What's your timeline looked like the past few weeks as you've been transitioning into this job and moving to Baton Rouge?

Korey McCray: I came in a couple of weeks ago and did the interview. I came back again last week and found a place for me to stay, and today I leave Los Angeles for Baton Rouge for good.

BL: What was the interview process like with Coach [Johnny] Jones? And did you know him before all of this started?

KM: I heard about Coach Jones before all this, but I never had a personal relationship with him. When I came to interview, he was kinda telling me about his vision for the school and for the basketball program. He also showed me around school and just meeting everybody, I was really impressed with him, the facilities and specifically the (Cox student athlete) academic building at LSU. It's pretty amazing.

BL: Talk about what you view as your responsibilities on this staff when it comes to recruiting.

KM: Well, with recruiting, really it's going to allow me to have free range to branch out and recruit the south and Atlanta and wherever I believe that I have connections or relationships through my background and through my history. That could be from summer AAU programs and just relationships I've built through the years. He [Coach Jones] is just going to give me free range to go recruit, so I'm excited and I definitely feel like I can produce. I feel like LSU has a great basketball tradition and, with Coach Jones being a former really good player there who's now leading the way, there's a lot of rich history and tradition on the staff right now.

BL: I'll ask the same question for on the court. Coach Jones mentioned recently that he was going to get into practice first before deciding where you may work. Where do you believe your strengths are in training and player development?

KM: It's really simple for me, I just like to encourage young men. I just want to be there to be their biggest cheerleader but also to critique them and help them become better players. I'm going to be right there with them, in the gym, working on technique. I believe in technique, and I believe in confidence. So I can work with the bigs or I can work with the guards. Either way, I feel fine. As soon as I get into practice and workouts, I know I'll be comfortable with either.

BL: You mentioned your connections in Atlanta and in the southeast in general. Do you think that helps maybe spread LSU's brand name and draw attention to players in bigger circles outside of just Louisiana and the gulf coast?

KM: Me personally, even before I got here, I thought LSU was a big name brand. Like I said, before I got here, they got Tim Quaterman from Georgia. LSU is a big name, and you can recruit LSU, to me, anywhere. Now you definitely want to take care of home. You definitely want to get the best players within your three- or four-hour radius, so we can't lose out on those guys who are right there in backyard in New Orleans and Houston and Dallas and Atlanta. We need to do a good job in that area, but I mean LSU is a brand name when you think of the players that have been there and the guys that are in the league right now. It's represented itself really well through its tradition.

BL: What has your interaction been like so far with any of the players or assistant coaches?

KM: I met Charlie [Leonard] and David [Patrick]. Those guys are awesome. I've been talking to David Patrick a whole lot, and I've developed a really good relationship with both of those guys, Charlie and David. I've got a lot of respect for them. With the players, I haven't really been around the guys yet. Since all this went down, I've really only been down there to meet with a realtor and doing things for work, doing paperwork with the contract and all the things you have to do when you get a new job. So I haven't spent a lot of time yet with the guys. I think they were just getting there for summer school when I was leaving, and I've been here for the last few days with the movers packing up my stuff and getting ready to go to Baton Rouge. I actually leave at 6 p.m. today to go to Baton Rouge for good, and I'm super excited.

BL: Finally, what's your assessment of the talent level currently on the team that you're coming into? Is it something you're pretty excited about?

KM: Oh, absolutely. I was recruiting Jarell Martin at UCLA, wanted him really bad. I know about him and Tim Quarterman and [Brian] Bridgewater and the kid from Dallas (Jordan Mickey) is a really good player. When you combine this with everybody coming back, I'm definitely optimistic about this year's team.

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