clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michael White to bring Louisiana Tech assistants to Florida; Anthony Grant following Billy Donovan

Florida's newest coach may well bring all of his Louisiana Tech staff to Gainesville.

Darris Nichols in his playing days at West Virginia.
Darris Nichols in his playing days at West Virginia.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Florida's got its head coach in Michael White. Now the first task for White as the Gators' steward, assembling his coaching staff, can begin in earnest.

He reportedly didn't look far from his old offices to find two of his assistants.

Scout's Evan Daniels reports that White will bring Louisiana Tech assistant Jordan Mincy with him to Gainesville, while Rivals writer Russ Wood tweeted Thursday that he is "expecting" White to do the same with Bulldogs assistant Darris Nichols.

Update, 10:15 a.m. Friday: CBS Sports's Jon Rothstein is now reporting that Florida will bring both Mincy and Nichols with him to Gainesville.

Tweets from a couple of power brokers in prep basketball on Thursday also seemed to suggest both hires were likely.

First, there's this one from Norton Hurd, head coach and program director of big-time Memphis AAU program Team Thad (founded and funded by Toronto Raptors forward and Memphis-raised Thaddeus Young), which mentions Mincy:

Team Thad has had a ton of elite talent in recent years, most notably Florida's own Chris Chiozza and Illinois forward Leron Black. And employing a bright, young Memphis native like Mincy, who graduated from Kent State after a four-year career for the Golden Flashes, and has been an assistant with Kent State, College of Charleston, and Toledo, would probably help keep Florida in the mix with Team Thad — and in Memphis, one of basketball's more surprising hotbeds for talent of late.

Nichols, though, might be a better coach at this point in time. And this tweet from David Williams, coach of Peoria (Illinois) Manual High — a storied program that has produced Illinois stars Sergio McClain and Frank Williams — made his hiring sound like a done deal.

A source indicated to Alligator Army late Thursday that Nichols was likely to join White in Gainesville.

Nichols ran the point for John Beilein and Bob Huggins at West Virginia from 2005 to 2009, and emerged from the experience with the skills to coach; after a year in Europe, Nichols was back in college basketball, as a graduate assistant under Huggins. From there, he's been strapped to a rocket: Two years helping the Northern Kentucky Norse move from Division II to Division I and succeed; one year at Wofford, recently the big dog in the Southern Conference under (Kentucky-snubbing) Mike Young; one year under White at Louisiana Tech.

The road from Division II assistant to Florida assistant would presumably be hard to cover in four years, but Nichols drew high praise from Beilein before his Wolverines had to take on the Terriers in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

"Darris Nichols, one of the assistant coaches, is one of the smartest, brightest point guards I have ever had," Beilein said on Sunday immediately following the selection show. "Now I wish he really didn’t understand our offense at all, but he knows everything about us, so we have a challenge with a guy on the other bench who knows a lot of what we do."

Nichols is from Virginia, and regarded as an excellent recruiter; he's spoken openly about being a head coach someday. And I'll take coaches who are intimately familiar with Beilien's offense any day.

The counterweight to White bringing Louisiana Tech assistants with him — his third, Dusty May, predates White at the school, and might be in line for a promotion in Ruston; Rothstein reports that White will "hold" the third assistant spot at Florida for May, pending what shakes out — would be the evacuation of Florida's current staff from their roles.

The Gainesville Sun's Pat Dooley reported late Thursday night that Anthony Grant will "definitely" follow Billy Donovan to Oklahoma City.

It would seem likely that both John Pelphrey and Rashon Burno are also likely not long for the Gators, either. Since 1994, Pelphrey has either been with Donovan as an assistant or working as a head coach; he might yet end up with Donovan again, or he might end up in the hinterlands for the first time in more than two decades. Burno, whose history with Donovan dates back only to his 2012 hiring as an assistant, would seem much more likely to work an assistant coach in college basketball than to follow Donovan.

White may or may not get to bring his entire Louisiana Tech staff with him, depending on May's future. But in Mincy and Nichols alone, he has the makings of a formidable staff of young, bright minds sure to hit the recruiting trail hard.