Tennessee State Legacy
Tennessee State University basketball is in the middle of a massive rebuilding project. Since he was hired in April, Head Coach Dana Ford brought in twelve new players, out of a possible thirteen. Jay Harris is the lone returnee.
Out with the old, in with the new. It was a unprecedented turnover rate. Because Coach Ford elected to acquire junior college prospects he will be replacing half the team in 2016.
In Georgia there resides an optimal recruiting target, Brian Coffee Jr.
The Class of 2017 point guard has already demonstrated exceptional change of direction. More intriguing is his father’s background.
“I played at Tennessee State University,” said Brian Coffee Sr. “I played in ’91 and ’92. His uncle played at Western Kentucky University, Darrell Coffey.”
Despite the obvious connection Coffee Sr. is relatively unfamiliar with the new direction Coach Ford is taking.
“I haven’t reached out to him yet,” said Coffee Sr. “I played two years of junior college ball and then Tennessee State gave me a scholarship.”
Coffee Sr. has heard the program is more stable than before. His son plays guard for Greater Atlanta Christian. GAC is a school in the way that a Division III college is a school. A sprawling Norcross campus puts to shame dozens of private universities. Tuition resembles a college rate, as well.
Coffee Jr. is in his first season at GAC.
“Last year he played at Wesleyan, where he started,” said Coffee Sr. “He lead the team in scoring, as a freshman. When he transferred he was asked to pick his spots and facilitate. Next year he is going to be allowed to score a little bit more.”
According to his father, Coffee Jr. was raised a scoring point guard. His career will bear that out.
“It is going good,” said Coffey Jr. “I have been learning a lot, mostly I changed my game. Mostly I have been brought up to be a scorer. Now I am learning how to be a facilitator too.”
Broadening his game remains a priority. Coffey Jr. is an advanced young guard and he wants to push towards greatness.
“Definitely my three-point shot,” said Coffey Jr. “That is probably my least consistent part of my game right now.”
Georgia and Vanderbilt are his most vociferous pursuers.
“I talk to Coach Jones of Vanderbilt all the time,” said Coffee Sr. “I talk to Coach Yasir (Rosemond) all the time.”
Coach Ford earned a verbal commitment from Jordan Reed. Reed transferred out of Binghamton in December. In 2013-2014 Reed led the America East with 8.9 rebounds per game. Diminished playing time and conflicts with Head Coach Tommy Dempsey lead to his departure.
The Tigers also signed Armani Chaney out of Chicago’s St. Rita High School. He will bolster the backcourt from day one.
Thursday Tennessee State captured their first OVC contest of the season. For the program to make the intended ascension Coach Ford will also have to win some more recruiting battles this offseason. A great connection to start with would be alumnus Brian Coffee Sr.