But the 6-foot-7 North Cobb High School center won’t be playing for the head coach who recruited him.
Florida Gulf Coast quickly earned national recognition as the biggest success story when the Eagles shocked Georgetown and upset San Diego State before falling to in-state rival Florida in the regional semifinals. While his team was in the spotlight, coach Andy Enfield became a hot commodity. When the Eagles season ended, Enfield parlayed the success he had into a 1.4 million dollar raise and a new job. Enfield was named head coach last Monday at the University of Southern California.
“Well, it didn’t shock me too much after the success that we had,” Neff said on Enfield departing. “It is disappointing because I was looking forward to playing for him. I’m just going to wait right now to see who the head coach will be, but I’m planning to still go there.
Neff, who averaged 11 points, six rebounds, and helped lead the Warriors to the Class AAAAAA state semifinals this season, committed to Florida Gulf Coast last August. Enfield sought Neff when he took the Florida Gulf Coast job two years ago and the two built solid rapport. Neff was sold on the open-floor playing style that the Eagles play, which earned the team the nickname “Dunk City.” That style was similar to the kind of basketball he played at North Cobb.
One of Enfield’s assistants, Marty Richter, is now the interim head coach for Florida Gulf Coast and is a promising candidate to take the reins. And assistant coach Michael Fly, who was also heavily involved in recruiting Neff, is still on staff.
If Richter gets the job, Neff is convinced Fly will remain as an assistant coach, which will make Neff’s decision to stay put that much easier. However, if Florida Gulf Coast goes in another direction and hires a head coach that plays a different brand of basketball, Neff said he would consider other options.
“If Richter gets the job, Fly will stay,” Neff said. “If he doesn’t, Fly won’t be there, and there would a chance that would try to transfer or leave and go to a different school.”