Georgia Southern Basketball Support Staff Update

Georgia Southern men’s basketball coach Brian Burg announced today that he has added Anthony Johnson, Rusty Grafel and Reed Ridder to his staff.

Johnson spent last season as the director of player development/video coordinator at the College of Charleston. Prior to that stint, he served as a graduate assistant coach at Texas Tech. During his time at College of Charleston, he assisted with on-campus recruiting, video editing, scouting reports and academic progress.

Originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management with a minor in sociology from Clemson in 2012. He completed his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at Texas Tech in May of 2019.

During his prep career, he was a three-year basketball letterwinner at James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, South Carolina. He was selected to the all-region, all-area and two-time all-tournament team. After graduation, Johnson was a two-year basketball letterman at Lees-McRae College before transferring to Clemson. 

“We are extremely excited to bring Anthony on board,” said Burg. “His array of experience at multiple high-level programs to go along with his drive to help players improve on and off the court will be an invaluable asset to our program. He has worked with some elite players in recent years and will be able to help develop the next crop of great players here at Georgia Southern.”

Grafel earned 104 victories as the head coach at Colby Community College from 2012-19 before joining the Texas Tech staff, where he served as a graduate assistant last season.

Grafel played at Fort Hays State University from 2004-07 after beginning his playing career at Hutchinson Community College. An Oberlin, Kansas, native, Grafel helped lead Fort Hays State to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship in the 2005-06 season after leading Hutchinson CC to the Jayhawk Conference title.

He began his coaching career as an assistant at Colby from 2009-12. Grafel graduated with a bachelor’s in sports management and a master’s in sports administration.

“I believe that Rusty’s experience will greatly benefit our program in a multitude of ways,” said Burg. “The knowledge and work ethic that Rusty brings will impact this program immediately, and we are very fortunate to have him on staff. From his time at Colby and Texas Tech, he has a wealth of experience and high level of success.”

Ridder spent the 2019-20 season as a graduate manager at Georgia after playing professionally overseas the previous two seasons – Australia 2016-17 and Spain 2017-18. He enjoyed a strong collegiate career, playing three seasons for his father, Steve Ridder, at NCAA II Embry-Riddle University after playing for NCAA II Lynn University as a freshman.

Ridder scored 1,003 career points and helped lead Embry-Riddle to a 35-2 record, the Florida Sun Conference championship and the semifinals of the NAIA Division II National Championship as a junior. He finished his career ranked eighth in program history with 181 3-pointers made.

Ridder comes from a rich basketball family. His father, Steve, was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame with 683 career wins. His brother, Ryan, is the head coach at Bethune-Cookman and is the fourth-youngest NCAA Division I men’s basketball head coach in the country. Ryan led Bethune-Cookman to the 2018 MEAC regular-season championship and won the Joe B. Hall Award as the nation’s top first-year Division I men’s basketball coach.

Reed earned a bachelor’s in business administration from Embry-Riddle in 2016 and is currently pursuing his master’s in sport management.

“Reed comes from a tremendous basketball background both playing and coaching,” said Burg.  “He is an excellent young coach with a bright future in the profession.  He has a relentless work ethic and strong ability to connect with players.  We can’t wait for him to get started.”

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