After praising Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and, in a later interview with 98.5 The SportsHub’s Zo & Bertrand, Marcus Smart and calling them foundational pieces for the franchise, Ime Udoka has started to build out his coaching staff and filling it with some of the young bright minds in the game.
During his introductory press conference on Monday, Udoka said of his own coaching search, “it’s been pretty extensive so far. We’ve been spending a ton of time with that, me and Brad talking a ton about it. It’s been great. There are a ton of great candidates out there. Obviously, the benefit of being a journeyman and being with so many organizations is that you meet a lot of people. I have a lot of relationships built around the league.
The first thing I would say is a hands-on approach with the coaching staff, building relationships, relatability, and then getting out there and grinding with the guys. I’m looking for energy, juice in the building, and a great environment to produce winning. That’s what I’m looking for in my staff and some of the people I’ve talked to so far. In general, I’m looking for a little bit of a mix. I don’t feel like I have to have a veteran staff more so than an energetic staff.”
Per The Atheletic’s Jay King, Udoka’s first addition could be San Antonio’s Will Hardy. Hardy’s rise in the Spurs system is the type of grit and grind hard work that will endear him to Celtics fans. He started as an intern in 2010 before becoming a video coordinator a year later. He has served as an assistant coach for the last five years, including head coaching the Spurs’ Summer League teams from 2015 to 2018. Local kid Hardy played his college ball at Williams College.
One of the criticisms of Brad Stevens’ bench was the lack of former players on the staff. To address some of those concerns, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Udoka is targeting University of the Pacific’s head coach Damon Stoudamire. Stoudamire played thirteen seasons in the NBA and went into coaching after leaving the game. After a brief stint as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies, Stoudamire bounced between the University of Memphis and his alma mater, the University of Arizona, before settling in the West Coast Conference’s Pacific for the last five years.
According to former CelticsBlogger and The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, it’s still unknown whether or not Udoka will retain any of Stevens’ former assistants whose contracts expire this week. Jerome Allen has confirmed that he will be leaving Boston for an assistant coach position with the Detroit Pistons. Scott Morrison interviewed with the Washington Wizards for their vacant head coaching position.