Ukraine and The Czar

I have returned to Kiev this summer to coach the Ukraine National Team in the qualification tournament for the 2013 FIBA European Basketball Championship, which will be held in Slovenia next year. The only other returning staff member from the States is veteran strength and conditioning coach Rich Dalatri, who was the first such specialist to work in the NBA when the Nets hired him back in 1987.

Former NBA coach Bob Hill, who has been coaching in China for the past couple years, will join our staff along with Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Joe Wolf, D-League Erie BayHawks head coach Jay Larranaga, and Boston Celtics scout Jack Nolan. Former Spurs videographer Zach Guthrie will also come on board before heading to the New Orleans Hornets in the upcoming season. And Ukrainian team coordinator Andrey Khomenko will be back in action to handle logistics.

I look forward to working with the promising, young Ukrainian players again. It would be a great honor to qualify for EuroBasket 2013, which in turn gives us a chance to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. Though it will be a tremendous challenge to qualify for the Olympics, this is what we’re setting out to do. This summer’s qualifying tournament is where our mission begins.

Our staff gathered in Kiev last weekend and then flew to our training site in Yuzhny, a port city on the Black Sea located about 45 minutes from the beautiful seaside resort city Odessa. Though Yuzhne is somewhat isolated, we have access to a great practice facility.

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Photos courtesy of Jack Nolan.