Wade Mason and J.D. Powell have joined the Georgia Bulldogs’ staff as assistant coach and director of recruiting and operations, respectively, head coach Tom Crean announced on Thursday.
“Wade and J.D. are big-time additions to our staff,” Crean said. “We are extremely excited to have them, and I am confident their contributions will be immediate and impactful. They bring a combination of both energy and experience that will be invaluable as we work to bring championships to Georgia Basketball.”
Mason arrives in Athens after spending the previous five seasons at Stephen F. Austin. Powell has spent the past seven seasons on the staff at College of Charleston, including the last two as associate head coach.
“My family and I are extremely appreciative to be a part of Coach Crean’s staff while also joining the incredible University of Georgia and Athens community,” Mason said. “The opportunity to join a program like the University of Georgia is unique, and I’m grateful that Coach Crean has afforded me this opportunity. I’m excited to serve, work with, create relationships and help our players reach their full potential competitively as well as academically. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Crean as a person, basketball mind, and of course his resume speaks for itself. I look forward to helping Coach Crean and the staff build on the already rich tradition of Bulldog basketball. Being a part of Georgia basketball is special, and I will take great pride and work relentlessly to help continue its success.”
“I am very excited to join Coach Crean and the Georgia Basketball family,” Powell said. “It is a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow in a tremendous program and the nation’s best basketball conference. Our family cannot wait to be a part of the UGA and Athens community.”
Mason helped guide Stephen F. Austin to the 2018 Southland Conference Tournament title, resulting in an NCAA Tournament bid, and the 2020 Southland regular-season crown, when the Lumberjacks won a league-record 19 conference games. SFA wrapped up each of those seasons with 28 wins, finishing 28-7 in 2017-18 and 28-3 in 2019-20, including a historic upset of No. 1-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in November 2019.
“I’ve followed Wade Mason for some time, and he comes highly recommended from people I’ve worked with and respect,” Crean said. “He’s built a very strong reputation from his work ethic, recruiting evaluations and perseverance, on the court work and preparation. He’s recruited successfully in Georgia in the past and helped develop some very successful players and teams. His two children, Jaila and Wade, live close by, and that’s an added bonus. He will impact our players in a very strong way.”
Stephen F. Austin was 104-46 in Mason’s five seasons, with additional road victories at Power-5 programs LSU and Baylor. Mason helped recruit a trio of Georgia natives to SFA who played key roles in that success – Kevon Harris from Ellenwood and Martin Luther King High School, who is Lumberjacks’ all-time leading scorer; Aaron Augustin from Suwanee and Miller Grove High School, who was a Southland Conference All-Defensive team honoree in 2018; and Devontae Fitzgerald, an Atlanta native who played at Tucker High School and averaged 11.3 ppg as a graduate transfer.
Stephen F. Austin has been one of the nation’s fastest and most efficient teams over the past half decade. The Lumberjacks led the nation in steals during both the 2017-18 (10.3 spg) and 2019-20 (10.5 spg) seasons and also finished fourth nationally in 2020-21 (9.5 spg). SFA has ranked among the top-10 teams in the country in field goal percentage twice during each of the past two seasons – No. 7 in 2019-20 (.491) and No. 2 in 2020-21 (.521).
Individually, Lumberjack players have collected 10 All-Southland Conference honors during the last five years, headlined by Harris being named 2020 Player of the Year and Gavin Kensmil receiving 2020 Newcomer of the Year accolades.
Prior to his tenure in Nacogdoches, Mason also served as an assistant coach at Oral Roberts from 2012-16 and as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma for the 2011-12 season. At Oral Roberts, Mason helped the Golden Eagles to a pair of postseason appearances, reaching the third round of the 2013 CIT in ORU’s first postseason bid since 1975 and the second round of the 2015 CBI.
A native of New Orleans, La., Mason was a standout on St. Augustine High School’s 1995 USA Today national championship team. He then played two seasons at Tyler Junior College and two at Tulane, where he helped lead the Green Wave to a Conference-USA National Division title and an NIT berth in 2000.
Powell’s 22 seasons of collegiate experience have been spent almost exclusively in Charleston. He joined Earl Grant’s staff in 2014 after serving as an assistant coach at The Citadel from 2010-14 and at Charleston Southern from 2004-10.
“J.D. Powell brings a wealth of experiences and responsibilities into our recruiting and operations director position,” Crean said. “His organizational abilities, coaching and recruiting acumen and passion, energy and work ethic really stood out to me. Again, like Wade Mason, he comes recommended from people I’ve worked with and people I respect. He will bring a vast background into our program and we are excited about it. We also welcome Kerri and their three boys, Jack, Tucker and Hampton, to UGA and the Athens community.”
College of Charleston enjoyed tremendous success with Powell. The Cougars went from winning just nine games in 2014-15 to 92 victories over the next four seasons. Player development and retention were cornerstones of the Charleston program. The Cougars produced 11 all-conference honorees in that span, including back-to-back NBA Draft picks in 2019 and 2020, while also producing 24 graduates and only six transfers.
Powell served two seasons as director of basketball operations before becoming an assistant coach in 2016-17 and being promoted to associate head coach after three seasons. In Powell’s first season as an assistant coach, the Cougars finished 25-10 and reached the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament championship game, resulting in an NIT bid. The Cougars went 26-8 the following year. After finishing as CAA regular-season co-champions, Charleston won the conference tournament to earn its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1999. The Cougars followed that effort with a 24-9 campaign in 2018-19.
While at The Citadel, Powell was instrumental in the Bulldogs signing two of the highest-rated recruits in program history. At Charleston Southern, he helped ink classes ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the Big South Conference by Rivals.com in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
A 2001 Clemson graduate, Powell began working with the Tigers’ basketball program as a manager but later became a walk-on and eventually earned a scholarship. He was a member of Clemson’s 1999 NIT runner-up squad. Powell spent two seasons as a graduate manager at Furman from 2002-04 while also working in operations for the NBDL’s Greenville Groove.