Tech is still awaiting the NCAA to complete its investigation and will determine its course of action based on the findings. Speaking Friday, athletic director Todd Stansbury said there was not a timeline that the NCAA was working on to reach a conclusion.
“I think that we’re just going to wait for the process to play itself out,” he said.
The alleged violation took place during an official visit of a prospect who is now a college freshman not at Tech. People familiar with the situation and LaBarrie describe it as a mistake not consistent with his character. At the least, the length of the investigation is not encouraging for LaBarrie’s prospects.
Approached at the event at Morehouse, LaBarrie declined comment. He also has been spotted at other high-school games recently.
LaBarrie’s absence may already have cost Tech a shot at one of the nation’s top juniors, Newton High point guard Ashton Hagans, who committed to Georgia in December. Speaking Monday after leading the Rams to a win over Warner Robins High with a triple-double, Hagans said he might have chosen Tech if not for the uncertainty with LaBarrie.
Said Hagans, “I had to switch things up when he got suspended.”
ESPN rates Hagans as a five-star prospect and the No. 19 player in the class. He may reclassify and seek to graduate in 2018 to enroll at UGA in the coming academic year. Tech’s recruitment of Hagans was aided by a longtime friendship LaBarrie had with Hagans’ father, Ashton Hagans said.
“We’re real close,” Hagans said of him and LaBarrie.
It’s ties like that that made LaBarrie such an attractive hire to Pastner and a valuable member of the staff. A Decatur native, LaBarrie starred at Tucker High, played at Tech and then coached in the AAU and high-school ranks before coaching at Tech, then Georgia State and then again at Tech since May 2016.
“He does well with the kids here in the state,” Williams said. “Obviously, he’s from here, played at Georgia Tech, played AAU here and he can relate with guys like Ashton and (Westside-Macon star) Khavon Moore and those type of guys that are coming up out of the state because he’s been in their position, basically.”
Stephenson High assistant coach Rashaad Richardson can further attest. Richardson played at Georgia State when LaBarrie was on coach Ron Hunter’s staff and considers him a mentor.
“If you’re talking about Georgia high school basketball, you would want Darryl LaBarrie on your staff,” Richardson said. “He’s a guy, he’s from here, he’s a Decatur, Georgia guy, he just knows so many people.”
Pastner came to Tech with some knowledge of the Atlanta basketball scene. Assistant coach Tavaras Hardy has made inroads, as well. Julian Swartz, whom Pastner elevated from director of recruiting and compliance to assistant coach in LaBarrie’s absence, has also been on the road recruiting and, in fact, was also at Monday’s games at Morehouse.
On paid leave, with him and the Tech basketball staff barred from communicating with each other, LaBarrie can only wait. At Morehouse on Monday, he put some of his time to use talking with Richardson, his former player at Georgia State. Richardson said that LaBarrie was staying positive and trusting the process.
“He’s definitely a great role model,” Richardson said. “I couldn’t have a better person in my corner than Darryl LaBarrie.”