Cross announces coaching changes

Published 10:32 am Friday, June 2, 2023

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On Thursday, Troy University Men’s Basketball Coach Scott Cross announced three coaching changes on his staff heading towards the 2023-2024 season.

As previously reported by The Messenger, former LSU-Alexandria head coach Larry Cordaro was named the new Director of Operations. Former Director of Operations Trent Patterson was recently named to that same position with the University of South Florida. Additionally, Cross promoted Director of Player Personnel Brandon Gilbert to assistant coach and hired Kelvin Lewis as the new Director of Player Personnel.

Gilbert has been with the Trojans since 2020, serving as Director of Player Personnel in each of his three seasons. Prior to joining Cross’ staff, Gilbert – a Madisonville, Texas, native – played college basketball for Kilgore College. Gilbert spent 11 seasons as an assistant high school coach in Texas for South Grand Prairie High and Athens High. He became a head coach at Arlington Lamar High in Texas and won District 6A Coach of the Year on two separate occasions with both Arlington Lamar and Killeen Shoemaker High.

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“Coach Gilbert did a great job as director of player personnel,” Cross said. “He was an extremely successful high school coach winning two district championships and two coach of the year awards for two different schools before I hired him.

“I brought him on staff with the intention of moving him up when we had an opening. He is ready for this opportunity and will do an awesome job recruiting student-athletes to Troy, while helping our current student-athletes reach their full potential both on and off the basketball court.”

Cordaro was one of the premier coaches in the NAIA as the head coach of LSUA for nine seasons, leading the program from its infancy to a 224-50 overall record with eight NAIA Tournament appearances, a national runner-up finish, a national coach of the year award and three conference championships. He also spent time as an assistant coach for Southeastern Louisiana and UTA and was Director of Player Personnel at LSU.

“Coach Cordaro is one of the hardest working coaches in the country,” Cross said. “We are very excited to hire someone as talented, experienced and successful as him. 2017 he was named the NABC NAIA National Coach of the Year.

“Coach Cordaro has an overall head coaching record of 224-50, which might give Coach Dean Smith a run for his money. Coach Cordaro will keep our office organized and on task, but he will also make our players and team better with his basketball experience and knowledge.”

Lewis, in his first year as a coach, comes to Troy after a stellar playing career at both the college and professional level. Lewis, a Fort Worth, Texas, native, was a star player at North Crowley High School before starting his college career at Auburn and finishing up at Houston. He averaged 11 points, three rebounds, 1.1 steals and one assist during his collegiate career, while also earning CUSA Player of the Year, All-CUSA, All-Defense and CUSA Tournament MVP honors during his Houston tenure.

After college, Lewis went on to play a total of 17 years professionally, in America and overseas. He was originally signed by the Houston Rockets in the NBA and played for them during the 2010 NBA Summer League. He was then signed by the Texas Legends – the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA G-League affiliate, before being traded to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, which is the G-League affiliate of the Rockets.

During the 2011-2012 season, Lewis averaged 12.6 points, three rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the Vipers. He averaged 7.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and one steal per game as a rookie with both the Vipers and Legends. He scored a total of 1,004 points in his G-League career. His Vipers squad won the 2012 G-League Championship.

Lewis went on to play for more than a decade overseas, playing for the Solna Vikings in Sweden, Tampereen Pyrinto and Kauhajoki Karhu in Finland, BC Timisoara in Romania, Kolossos Rodou in Greece, Soproni KC in Hungary, Hottur in Iceland, Gladiators Trier in Germany and SKN St. Polten in Austria.

During his overseas career, Lewis was a part of a Romanian Cup Championship in 2015 with BC Timisoara and the Korisliiga Championship in both 2014 and 2018 with the Tampereen Pyrinto. He was named the Korisliiga Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and was the Urvalsdeild scoring champion in 2018 with Hottur. He tallied more than 5,400 career points as a professional. In his final professional season, Lewis averaged 13.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists with SKN St. Polten in Austria.

“Coach Lewis is a future star in our business,” Cross said. “He was a star at the University of Houston, where he was named Player of the Year in Conference USA. He just finished an outstanding professional career after playing in the G-League for two years before moving on to play overseas for the past 10-plus years in eight different countries.

“I recruited Kelvin out of high school. He was an ‘OKG’ (Our Kind of Guy) then, and he is an ‘OKG’ now. He was very talented, but he was also extremely high character. He will be an amazing resource for our players and will work very closely to help develop each player to his full potential.”

Assistant coaches Byron Jones and Mike Worley remain with the Trojans, as well. Jones is heading into his fourth season with the Trojans and Worley will be heading into his 11th season with the program. Former associate head coach Kenneth Mangrum joined the staff of New Mexico State back in April.