YSU’s Barnes Hires Assistants

First-year Youngstown State head women’s basketball coach John Barnes has announced that Andrew Crane, Brenna Banktson and Courtney Davidson have joined his coaching staff.

Crane will serve as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, Banktson will be an assistant coach, and Davidson will be the director of basketball operations. Crane spent the 2012-13 season as an assistant at Cleveland State, and Banktson was the director of operations last year at Western Michigan. Davidson, a Mahoning Valley native, was the head coach at Youngstown’s Ursuline High School in 2012-13.

“I’m very excited about this group of assistant coaches,” Barnes said. “They all bring a lot of experience and enthusiasm to the program. I look forward to working with them on a daily basis.”

Crane, like Barnes, comes to Youngstown with a year of experience in the Horizon League to his credit. Crane was an assistant at Cleveland State last season, and he has five more seasons of collegiate coaching experience. Additionally, he spent three years as a head coach at Team Wisconsin Select, a top AAU program.

In addition to coordinating YSU’s recruiting efforts, Crane will oversee official and unofficial visits by recruits, assist in developing YSU’s wings, scout opponents and help with game and practice preparation.

“Andrew brings a wealth of knowledge in the AAU community and knows tons of coaches, which will help in recruiting,” Barnes said. “His experience recruiting in the Horizon League will also be a great benefit. He brings a lot of energy, and his work ethic is second to none.”

Prior to his arrival at Cleveland State, Crane spent four seasons as an assistant at the University of Dubuque in Iowa. The Spartans experienced new milestones under Crane, posting their best regular season finish in program history and their first conference tournament win. Crane successfully recruited to Dubuque six all-state players, six WBCA All Stars, two McDonald’s All-America Nominees and a Minnesota Ms. Basketball finalist. He also coached a season at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa.

Banktson spent the last two seasons serving as a director of operations in the Mid-American Conference. She was on the staff at Western Michigan, her alma mater, in 2012-13, and she served in the same capacity at Kent State in 2011-12.

Banktson will be in charge of overseeing the program’s camp series and community service activities, assist in developing guards, serve as a compliance liaison, recruit student-athletes, scout opponents and help with practice and game preparation.

“Brenna’s experience as a player and an operations person will be invaluable to our program moving forward,” Barnes said. “She knows Ohio from her year at Kent State, and that will help with recruiting.”

In both of her stops, Banktson’s responsibilities included film exchange, travel coordination and assisting with community involvement.

As a player for the Broncos from 2007-11, Banktson was a four-year letter winner and finished her career ranking fifth in WMU history in career 3-pointers made (133), sixth in 3-point percentage (.362), 12th in free-throw percentage (.741) and 18th in career points (1,090). She was an Academic All-MAC honoree and earned the team’s Academic Excellence Award her senior year.

Davidson is one of the top high school players in the Mahoning Valley in recent memory and served as the varsity head coach at her alma mater, Ursuline, the past two years. She was the assistant varsity coach the previous three seasons, and the Irish advanced to the District Finals in four of her five seasons on the bench. Outside of basketball, Davidson has worked in academics at Eastern Gateway Community College since November.

At Youngstown State as the director of women’s basketball operations, Davidson will be in charge of coordinating team travel, overseeing the annual golf outing, film exchange, serving as an academic liaisons and assessing the team’s equipment and apparel needs.

“We are very fortunate to bring Courtney on board,” Barnes said. “Her experience in the Big 10 as a player and the fact that she’s well-known in the Youngstown community made it an easy choice to hire her.”

Davidson was a three-year letter winner at Michigan State during a four-year stretch of national prominence for the Spartans. Michigan State was the national runner-up her freshman year, advanced to the Elite Eight her sophomore year and appeared in the Sweet 16 her junior year. The Spartans then advanced to the finals of the WNIT her senior year in 2008. Davidson was the recipient of the Sixth Man of the Year Award as both a sophomore and junior.

As a player at Ursuline, Davidson was ranked as the No. 43 player in the country in 2004 by the All-Star Girls Report. A three-time first-team all-state selection, she finished her career ranking 28th in Ohio history with 2,076 career points.

The hirings are all pending the completion of official paperwork.

COURTESY: YSU Sports Information

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