OCEAN — Croatan girls basketball coach Andrew Gurley has been tabbed to be the assistant coach in the 2020 N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game.
Gurley finished his ninth year as head coach of the program last winter, leading the Cougars to a 20-3 finish and a 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference championship.
“It’s pretty cool,” Gurley said of the selection. “I consider it an honor to be selected to represent your state or your part of the state. It’s an experience I’ll take with me and learn a lot from.”
A coaching position on the East-West game is a one-time-only selection. Gurley will have a shot at being a head coach for the game in the future, but this will be his only assistant coach selection.
The head coach of the 2020 East team will be Donald Mooring of South Lenoir, who led the Blue Devils to a 13-12 finish in 2018-2019.
“I’m excited to work with him,” Gurley said. “They used to be in our conference and we’ve played them in nonconference games before too. I’ve always enjoyed playing them and he and I have always gotten along.”
The two coaches will be tasked with player selections before the game next July at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“I think it’ll be a neat process, evaluating all the players throughout the year,” Gurley said. “I’m sure we’ll each have a list that gets narrowed down as the season goes on.”
Prior to the game, coaches will get, time permitting, three practice sessions with the players before battling the team from the West. Next year, the West will be coached by Brad Mangum of West Caldwell and Amy Sarratt of Southern Alamance.
“It’ll be cool to bring everyone together and get them ready to play together for one game,” Gurley said. “It’s a chance to see other talent across the state, and a short time to get them prepared. You don’t have time to over-coach them, you just want to let them play. These players will be talented, so we’ll just look to prepare things that allow them to showcase their skills.”
The 2019 East-West game took place on July 15, with the East team winning 81-78. The East team was coached by Dave May of Pine Forest and Mark Lane of East Duplin, while the West team was coached by Shane Slate of North Surry and Brooke Stouder of Carson.
Gurley, who doubles as the school’s football coach, is in good position to have another statement season on the hardwood. His 20-3 team from last season graduated no starters and will bring back its top seven scorers.