When it was time for St. John's head basketball coach Norm Roberts to make his first hire, he tabbed an outstanding teacher, recruiter and former teammate as an assistant coach. Glenn Braica (pronounced Brike-uh), now in his sixth season, was the first assistant to join Roberts' staff at St. John's in April of 2004.
Braica is a proven recruiter, scout and strategist, and was instrumental in helping St. John's build its foundation for success in the 2009-10 season - a group that includes the Red Storm's four-man class of newcomers and nine-man group of juniors. Braica's on-court instruction, particularly with the St. John's guards and wing players, has given the Red Storm improved perimeter play over the last five seasons. Last season, guard Paris Horne improved his scoring average +9.5 points per game, going from a reserve role player to a full-time legitimate starter in the nation's top basketball conference and earning first team All-Met honors from the NYC Metropolitan Basketball Writer's Association. In 2007-08, Anthony Mason Jr. was tabbed an honorable mention All-BIG EAST selection and a first team All-Met selecton, and three years ago, in 2006-07, then-junior Eugene Lawrence finished first in the conference in assists (5.6 per game) and 10th in steals (1.8 per game). Braica's tutelage helped lay the groundwork for the BIG EAST's second-rated field goal percentage defense (.394) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.322) in 2005-06.
A native New Yorker, Braica attended St. Agnes High School and Bishop Ford in Brooklyn in the early 1980s. The Brooklyn-born Braica went on to join Roberts as part of the Queens College Knights from 1984-88, where the two became good friends.
Experience On The Bench
He roamed the St. Francis College (N.Y.) sidelines on the Brooklyn campus for 15 years, serving as Associate Head Coach from the 2000-01 season to 2003-04. While at St. Francis, Braica worked under Ron Ganulin, who spent 2005-06 as the Director of Player Development for the NBA's Washington Wizards before serving two years as an assistant coach at Manhattan College, and was also an assistant with the 1990 UNLV national championship squad. At St. Francis, Braica served as the recruiting coordinator and was instrumental in on-court coaching, scouting, individual workouts, preseason and postseason conditioning, film exchange and the monitoring of each player's academic progress.
Braica was heavily involved in player development at St. Francis, and helped orchestrate the Terriers' offensive system, which ranked first or second in the NEC in each of the last five seasons he was on staff. During his tenure the squad emerged from the league's lower tier and went on to become one of the conference's marquee programs, boasting two regular season conference championships. From 1998-2004, the Terriers had one player named the league's Player of the Year, six first-team All-NEC selections, five second-team All-NEC honorees, two players that lead the league in scoring, two NEC Rookies of the Year and a NEC Defensive Player of the Year. Braica recruited and coached by several student-athletes that would go on to pro basketball careers during his time with the Terriers.
During Braica's last seven years at St. Francis, the Terriers posted a 118-83 record, including an 88-42 mark in the NEC. They finished with a .500 or better record in the league seven-straight years, at that time the longest active streak in the league. They also reached the NEC Semifinals five times and had two championship game appearances in Braica's last five seasons.
From 2001-03, Braica was the head coach for the Empire State Games New York City men's open team, which won gold medals in 2001 and 2002, as well as a silver medal in 2003. The teams included former St. John's players Anthony Glover, Andre Stanley and Sharif Fordham and former Texas standout and current NBA player Royal Ivey.
Braica and his wife, Christine, were married on campus in St. Thomas More Church during the summer of 2006.
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