Darrin Horn needed about a day to decide on his new assistant coach. He opted for continuity and youth.
Neill Berry was promoted to full-time assistant coach for South Carolina on Friday. Berry replaces Scott Cherry, who was hired Thursday as the coach at High Point.
Berry, 26, served this past season as the director of player development, but he was an assistant two seasons ago for Horn at Western Kentucky.
“It’s a no-brainer for us,” Horn said. “This is a guy that is going to be an absolutely star in our business. He has experience in every area that you need to perform at this level. And he’s proven that he can do it before. And maybe more important than all of that, he’s a guy that’s earned the respect of everybody he’s ever worked with.”
Berry’s addition gives the Gamecocks’ four-man coaching staff a median age of 31. Cypheus Bunton is the oldest at 37, with Horn a year younger.
But Horn said that was no concern.
“I’m great with that,” he said. “I don’t think it changes our staff that much from what it was before, in a lot of ways. We’re really big on competency and not age. We’re really excited about our staff and the direction that we’re headed. We think it’ll continue to grow.”
Cherry, Bunton and Berry joined Horn last year from Western Kentucky. Horn elected to keep Berry in a non-coaching role and hired Mike Boynton, a former USC player.
Berry played at Southeastern Louisiana, where he made the NCAA tournament his senior year, and he is a native of Brandon, Miss.
“During my time at Western Kentucky and this past season at South Carolina, I’ve benefited from working for a tremendous coach and staff,” Berry said in a statement. “I’m committed to the development of the current players that we have at South Carolina and also working diligently to recruit future student-athletes with the character and integrity to represent the university and Gamecock basketball.”
Kentucky reaction. Horn, who was on the road Friday, said he heard about Billy Gillispie’s firing from Kentucky on the radio.
“From a coaching perspective it’s unfortunate that something like that could happen after two years. But it’s the business that we’re in,” said Horn, who is not regarded as a candidate for the job in Lexington, his hometown.
Video: Horn wraps up season, looks ahead