Gregg Popovich on Celtics’ Ime Udoka earning the Boston coaching position: ‘I could not be a lot more thrilled’

Ime Udoka expended years in San Antonio as equally a participant and mentor, studying the intricacies of the NBA underneath Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Though he went as a result of new hardships the earlier two a long time in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, Udoka said it was a essential experience venturing away from San Antonio.

That path introduced Udoka to Boston as its 18th head coach in franchise history, earning his very first head-coaching gig in the NBA. He’s been praised for his potential to link with the present stars of the NBA, but Popovich explained there is a lot more to Udoka than just that.

“I could not be much more thrilled,” Popovich explained of Udoka on Tuesday soon after United states Basketball’s initial practice. “The man is a stalwart. People overemphasize Os-and-Xs in the league. All the coaches know their Os-and-Xs. It’s basketball. It is not analytical geometry or a thing like that. That stuff’s not tough. But to comprehend how to get the most out of people, to develop associations with players, to make men and women accountable, to make them want to engage in for you are definitely the keys. He’s bought all of that.”

Udoka expended seven several years with the Spurs as a mentor, successful the 2014 NBA championship along with Popovich. He also put in 3 seasons as a participant in San Antonio, exactly where he was acknowledged for his difficult, defensive-minded perform design and style.

Which is a good deal of time beneath Popovich, who heaped praise upon Udoka. Their partnership goes even further, together with stints with United states of america Basketball in the 2019 FIBA Earth Cup, exactly where Udoka also coached present Celtics Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Intelligent.

“Obviously my time in San Antonio was distinctive,” Udoka mentioned for the duration of his introductory information convention. “I’ve been lower much more as a participant than I experienced assures — and my ensures were being in San Antonio as a player. And then expending seven many years there with Mentor Popovich sort of laid the foundation of who I want to be as a basketball mentor.”

Udoka’s Celtics tenure will be established by equally his handling of his star players and the acquire-reduction report that is life as a head coach. But like his effect on his gamers, Udoka’s charm arrives over and above just the on-courtroom product or service, Popovich claimed.

Similar to how Celtics president Brad Stevens stated it, Popovich pointed to Udoka’s “genuineness” as for why the longtime Spur stood out.

“He’s genuinely a gifted communicator,” Popovich claimed. “With him, less is a lot more he’s not a talker. He’s a communicator. Far more than anything at all, he’s genuine. You know accurately what you are obtaining. I’m guaranteed which is what Brad Stevens felt when he interviewed him for the first time.”