Former Nigerian basketball star, Ime Udoka has been named Boston Celtics’ new coach.
Udoka, who represented the Nigerian basketball team, D’Tigers in his career was recruited by the outgoing head coach of Boston, Brad Stevens. The former coach, Stevens is now the club’s President of Basketball Operations.
Udoka is the 18th head coach in the 75-year history of the franchise.
Stevens during the announcement said; “I would like to welcome Ime, Nia, Kez, and Massai to the Boston Celtics. Among the many outstanding qualities that Ime brings to the table are his character, humility, and competitiveness. He has a relentless work ethic and a vast array of experiences as a player and coach,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens. “He’s a leader that is warm and demanding, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in pursuit of Banner 18.”
Udoka, who won two bronze medals with D’Tigers in 2011 and 2015 Afrobasket Championships has been an assistant coach at San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets for the past nine seasons. The teams he worked in as an assistant coach have qualified for the NBA playoffs in each of the past nine seasons, with a victory with Spurs in 2014 crowning it for him.
He also assisted Gregg Popovich in 2018 as he worked alongside the US national men’s basketball team coach.
Udoka, 43, had a career which spanned 12 years, seven of which were spent in the NBA with San Antonio, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Portland Trailblazers, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
He averaged 5.2 points on 41.7% shooting (35.6% 3-PT), 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 18.1 minutes in 316 career games for all the aforementioned clubs.
“Ime stands out as a person of integrity, accomplishment, energy, and insight,” said Celtics Co-Owner and Governor Wyc Grousbeck. “He has worked with some of the best and is ready to take the next step forward. I look forward to having him as our head coach.”
“Ime’s passion for basketball and coaching is extraordinary,” said Celtics Co-Owner and Alternate Governor Steve Pagliuca. “He is respected by players and coaches throughout the league for his empathy, humility, and deep knowledge of the game. We are thrilled that he will be coming to Boston to lead our team.”
Udoka was born to a Nigerian father from Akwa-Ibom in the southern part of the country and an American mother from Illinois.