Top Men’s Basketball Assistants: Sun Belt

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.

Greg Young, UT Arlington | The Cleburne, Texas native graduated from Howard Payne University in 1986. He was an assistant at Texas Wesleyan (1986-90) and at Eastern New Mexico (1991-94) before spending 1994 to 1998 as the head coach at Lamar CC in Colorado. Young was the head coach at Hill College for the next two seasons, then an assistant at Texas State for five years before a four-year stint as the head coach at Jacksonville College in Texas. Young has been at UTA since 2009.

“G.Y. is a head coach. He has been a head coach and can run any aspect of a program. He’s a terrific ball coach that the players respect. We are very fortunate to have him.” – UT Arlington coach Chris Ogden

“Coach Ogden keeping Greg Young on staff from the Cross regime was brilliant. His Texas recruiting ties, knowledge of the league and head coaching experience have all served Coach Ogden well. UTA has been a contender in the Sun Belt for the past five years and Greg Young is a critical reason why. He is always poised to help make crucial in-game adjustments as good as anyone in the country.” – Sun Belt assistant

Charles Baker, Little Rock | The North Little Rock native graduated from Westark Junior College (now UA-Fort Smith) in 1986. He spent five years working with the Arkansas Wings while also coaching in college. Baker spent one year as an assistant at Middle Tennessee (1990-91) and one at Coppin State (1991-92) before spending five years as the head coach at Shorter Junior College (1993-98). He was an assistant at Louisiana Tech (1998-2000), Kansas State (2000-06), Louisiana Tech (2006-07), Colorado (2007-09) and Campbell (2009-13) before taking over as the head coach at Southwest Christian Academy for three seasons. He joined Little Rock in 2018.

“He’s great at evaluating talent and has great connections in Europe. Just a damn good recruiter that has been doing this for a long time. He complements me and my personality.” – Little Rock coach Darrell Walker

“He eats, drinks and sleeps basketball. He is Darrell Walker’s right-hand man and is great at finding hidden gems in recruiting.” – Sun Belt assistant

Amorrow Morgan, South Alabama | The Memphis native was a star at Idaho State and graduated in 2012. He played professionally overseas for three seasons before starting his coaching career at Illinois-Springfield. He then spent one year at Our Lady of the Lake and two years as an assistant at Henderson State before joining Richie Riley’s staff at Nicholls State in 2017. He went with Riley to South Alabama in 2018.

“As good as there is in the country, period. Extremely detailed in all that he does. High-level recruiter, but what he does best is teach the game. Ro is more than ready to lead his own program! I’m thankful that our guys get to learn from a man like him everyday.” – South Alabama coach Richie Riley

“He’s well-respected by his peers and experienced beyond his years on and off the court and in recruiting.” – Sun Belt assistant

Kenneth Mangrum, Troy | After graduating from UNT in 2002, the Waco native worked for three years (2002-05) as a grad assistant on the Mean Green staff, coached two years at Athens High (2005-07) and then worked as an assistant at Angelo State for four seasons. He was an assistant at Sam Houston State (2013-14) for a year before spending four seasons (2014-18) at UT Arlington. He joined the Troy staff in 2019 after one season as an assistant at Texas Southern.

“Coach Mangrum is a hard-working coach that has a great feel for the game. He is a great role model for our players. In addition, he is a ‘we guy’ and never lets his ego get in the way when making suggestions on who to recruit or what we should do on offense, defense or playing time. He really understands and studies the game and is willing to hold our players accountable while still maintaining very good relationships. We are very, very fortunate to have him on staff here at Troy!” – Troy coach Scott Cross

“Kenneth is one of the best coaches and people in this business. He’s a well-rounded individual that’s passionate about young men and their future. Kenneth has strong relationships across the southern region. His ability to identify talent, align the mind and the skill of his players with their team concept makes him one of the best in our league. He’s a student of the game. Always humble in his approach, he demands nothing less than excellence from his players. He’s going to be a successful head coach soon.” – Sun Belt assistant

Cliff Warren, Georgia State* | The Silver Spring, Maryland native was a standout player at Mount St. Mary’s from 1986-90 and later a grad assistant at his alma mater. He became an assistant at Mount St. Mary’s (1994-97), Siena (1997-2000) and Georgia Tech (2000-05) before being the head coach at Jacksonville from 2005-14. He was at Maryland (2014-17) and UMass (2017-19) before joining Rob Lanier at Georgia State in 2019.

“He’s the whole package. Cliff is the all-time winningest coach in the history of a D-1 program. How many people can say that? He’s humble, he works hard and he truly cares about young people. He is one of the best our profession has to offer and we are lucky to have him.” – Georgia State coach Rob Lanier

“With D-1 head coaching experience, Coach Warren is the ultimate assistant. He simply knows how to take things off the head coach’s plate and make his job easier in all aspects of the program.” – Sun Belt assistant

Brock Morris, Louisiana* | The Albertville, Ala. native played at Snead State and was a grad assistant at Alabama before becoming the director of basketball operations at Louisiana in 2010. He spent three years in that role before going to the College of Southern Idaho (2013-15) as an assistant. He then spent 2015-17 as an assistant at South Alabama and was the head coach at Daytona State for one season before returning to the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2019.

“Brock is one of the best assistant coaches in the college game. He brings knowledge, energy and passion on a daily basis. Great network in recruiting and is relentless chasing players. Brock’s experience as the head coach at Daytona State has made him an even better assistant. He cares about our players and develops them hard but holds them accountable. Innovative basketball mind, always studying and learning from other coaches at all levels.” – Louisiana coach Bob Marlin

“Brock is a veteran Sun Belt assistant who has helped ULL have one of top recruiting classes this year.” – Sun Belt assistant

Terrence Johnson, Texas State* | The New Orleans native went to Southern University, coached a couple of AAU programs in Houston and then was an assistant at Samford. Johnson then went back to coaching AAU before arriving in San Marcos in 2015.

“Terrence has a good knowledge of the game and is good at teaching the game. He is also a strong recruiter that has a lot of contacts throughout the South.” – Texas State coach Danny Kaspar

“He does a great job evaluating players. He gets players thinking right — while I’ve heard it can be tough playing for Coach Kaspar. He cares for his guys and is a huge reason why they play as hard as they do and are willing to run through a wall for their staff.” – Sun Belt assistant

Benny Moss, Coastal Carolina* | The North Carolina native got started in coaching at Pfeiffer in 1993. He had assistant stints at Phillips (1996-98) and Henderson State (1998-2000) before spending six seasons at Charlotte (2000-06) and four as the head coach at UNC Wilmington (2006-10) prior to his arrival at Coastal Carolina in 2011.

“Benny is experienced and a hard worker. He has been a head coach, so he thoroughly understands my position. He also has NBA experience as a scout and has been an assistant at UNCC. Well-rounded guy. I have enjoyed having him with me and I trust him.” – Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis

“Former head coach who has experience necessary to oversee all aspects of the program. His ability to wear several hats is no doubt a huge reason that Coastal is always one of the most competitive programs in the Sun Belt. He’s ready to run his own program again in the near future!” – Sun Belt assistant

*Four-way tie for fifth place.

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