OPEN SCHOLARSHIP SPOT
With the return of Darius McGhee, Liberty has one scholarship available for the 2022-23 team should the Flames elect to use it. McKay expressed caution when asked about the spot during his recent media availability.
“I would like to err on the side of caution, make sure we don’t get off track about the pursuit that I think has allowed, or at least accentuated, our growth in our program,” he said. “We are going to continue to be selective. If we find the right guy, we’re certainly going to try to add him to our family, that could be next week, it could be in the Fall recruiting class.”
Unless the Flames’ come across someone that is too good to pass up, it could be that McKay and his staff elect to hold that scholarship for the next year and move into 2022-23 with the roster they currently have.
With McGhee returning, he is likely to own nearly every scoring record in the Liberty record books. His career three-point record might not ever be broken with another season to put distance between him and any future challengers. When asked about it, McGhee stated he hopes someone would eventually break it and mentioned some one he thinks might challenge the records.
“I hope some does,” McGhee said when asked if anyone will ever be able to break his records. “I think I’ve got my money on one person, but I think we will have to wait for him to get here.”
McGhee didn’t mention this mysterious player by name, but it sounds like it is an incoming recruit. The Flames have three incoming players that will join the team this summer in Colin Porter, Ben Southerland, and Zach Cleveland. Liberty has also a commitment from Curtis Blair III who is currently a junior in high school.
DEREK JOHNSTON PROMOTED
In addition to hiring Rob Jones as associate head coach, Coach McKay also announced the promotion of Derek Johnston to associate head coach. Johnston arrived at Liberty prior to the 2018-19 season and has been part of the Flames’ three straight ASUN regular season and tournament championships.
“I think DJ is an incredible teacher,” said McKay. “He really is. You can just talk to our guys. They will tell you about the influence he has had on their individual improvement and development as well as what we’ve done on the offensive end. Coaches really, really struggle with control. We want to control everything. I think you could even bleed that over into the male gender loves control. Some of the things DJ has helped our program with and myself is to let our guys play with a little more freedom. I had one recruit’s parents say, ‘You guys have structured freedom’ is what he called it. I said that’s a great compliment. I think DJ has had a lot do with that.”
This will be the first time under McKay that the Flames have had two associate head coaches on staff.
“Two is always better than one, I think,” McKay joked. “I think the leadership that we have and the support that those gentlemen give me, as well as everyone on our staff, makes our program that much more improved. To have two of those gentlemen their caliber in our program is tremendous.”
OTHER STAFFING CHANGES
With Brad Soucie and Kevin Anderson both no longer on the staff, McKay announced additional changes. Zach Farquhar was promoted to Director of Player Development, the position Anderson most recently held. Also, Sam Thomas has been named Director of Operations and Luke McKay has been promoted to Video Coordinator. The Flames have room to bring on a graduate assistant and McKay says they are currently “recruiting” for that position but could not comment on individual names being considered.