In this series, we’ll be giving props to some of the best assistants in college basketball.
For each conference, I polled at least 20 coaches (primarily assistants) and asked for them to name the top assistant coaches in their respective league. Is it a perfect way of determining the elite assistants? Maybe not, but it seems far more accurate than any other method.
I’ve also made sure to include some info on each coach that’s recognized — as well as quotes from both their boss and another assistant in the league.
Jeremy Luther, Gardner-Webb | The Tallahassee, Fla. native started his college playing career at Robert Morris (1992-93) before playing two seasons at Liberty and Covenant College. Prior to coming to Gardner-Webb in 2013, he was a head coach at two Division II stops: Newberry and Armstrong Atlantic. Luther was also an assistant at Mercer from 2001-07.
“Jeremy is one of the best recruiters that I’ve worked with in my 18 years of coaching. Great ability and work ethic to cultivate relationships in both recruiting and in player development. With his six years of head coaching experience, he also has a valuable ‘big picture perspective’ as it relates to building a successful program.” – Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft
“He’s done more with less than anyone in our league. Recruits at a high level and really good in-game coach. That combo has led him to be instrumental to Gardner-Webb’s success over the past seven years.” – Big South assistant
Brian Kloman, Winthrop | The Asheville, N.C. native is a Tennessee grad, and his father, Chris Ferguson, was a long-time college basketball coach. Kloman has had stints at Pikeville College, Daniel Webster and Pfeiffer. In the D-1 ranks, he’s been an assistant at North Carolina Central and Tennessee Tech, and has been on Pat Kelsey’s staff at Winthrop since 2014.
“He’s a unicorn. He’s just different. His ability to build trust, rapport, connect and genuinely love people is special. He is fiercely loyal and his people skills are elite.” – Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey
“The past six years, Winthrop is in the top three every season, and certainly one of the reasons is that they’ve had great players. Brian has been a big part of recruiting great talent and tough-minded guys to Winthrop’s roster. Kloman’s been on a staff that has won at a high level and has been able to sign some really talented kids. He’s a tremendous recruiter and relationship builder. Winthrop can thank a lot of their success to the caliber of players Brian and the staff have been able to recruit.” – Big South assistant
Donny Lind, Radford | He graduated in 2010 from Loyola (Md.) after serving as a student manager and video coordinator for Jimmy Patsos. Lind worked as a graduate manager and video coordinator for Shaka Smart for three years at VCU, then as an assistant for Jamion Christian at Mount St. Mary’s for three seasons before arriving at Radford in 2016.
“He is very knowledgeable about players in his recruiting areas, but also does the extra work to know other areas and players nationally. He is good in all areas of coaching — on the floor, scouting, recruiting, player relations. He’s not afraid to give his opinions backed up with sound rationale. He has great ideas. He could be the assistant at Texas right now and kill it.” – Radford coach Mike Jones
“One of the most energetic coaches in the game. Coaches with passion. His energy rubs off on [the] team and players and you can see he has great relationships with the guys. He also works with the guards, who have been really good over the years.” – Big South assistant
Thomas “Tee” Butters, Charleston Southern | The 2011 Clemson grad was a graduate assistant and student manager with the Tigers. He was a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley when he graduated and also worked as an assistant coach at Riverside High in Durham, N.C. Butters became the video coordinator at Charleston Southern in 2014, the director of basketball operations in 2015 and was soon promoted to assistant coach before being elevated to assistant head coach in August of 2019.
“Tee has an excellent basketball mind. He studies and works at the game daily. Tee has grown into an elite recruiter and also works daily at recruiting with great passion. But what sets Tee apart and makes him a superstar in our profession is that he knows how to genuinely love players. Tee builds real relationships that are built on trust which allows him to bring out the best in our players. He is a servant leader and extremely loyal to our program and players. Tee is the complete package and is on his way towards leading his own program soon. And more important than all of that, Tee is a great husband and father.” – Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh
“One of the young coaches in the league who is a great relationship builder and great offensive mind.” – Big South assistant
Trey Meyer, Presbyterian* | He graduated from Clemson, where he was a student assistant, in 2009 and got his master’s from Tennessee State in 2011 — where he was a graduate assistant and also spent one season (2011-12) as the director of basketball operations. Prior to his arrival at Presbyterian in 2019, he was an assistant at Miami (Ohio) (2012-17), Furman (2017-18) and the director of recruiting/player development at the College of Charleston.
“Trey is one of the best assistant coaches in the country, at any level. He has experienced serving on staffs at every level of Division I. His understanding and feel for the game is exceptional. Trey is a very talented evaluator and recruiter. His ability to connect with our student-athletes off the floor while getting the best out of them on the court is second to none. Most importantly, Coach Meyer is of high character and extremely loyal. He has all the attributes to lead his own program in the future.” – Presbyterian coach Quinton Ferrell
“Trey is at one of the toughest jobs in our league, and they did a heck of a job this year having their team prepared, very organized, and he has always done it the right way.” – Big South assistant
Dave Davis, Winthrop* | The veteran head coach has 486 career wins and came to Winthrop in 2019 after nine seasons as the head coach at Newberry College in South Carolina. Davis was also the head coach at Pfeiffer University for 14 years and was 284-124 in that span. Prior to his stint at Pfeiffer, he was the head coach at Barton from 1993-96 and at Warren Wilson from 1991-93.
“Dave Davis is a basketball savant. He is an innovator that forces me to look at the game in a way I never have. He is beloved by all of his former players and respected by every high school/AAU coach in the region. He’s an amazing human being.” – Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey
“Dave’s influence on the Winthrop team was evident. A lot of things Dave did at Newberry, Winthrop now does.” – Big South assistant
*Two-way tie for fifth place