Just three years after his final pro game, former NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse is reportedly about to become a head coach. From Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor:
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League sources have informed Upside & Motor that the Raptors 905 are expected to name Jerry Stackhouse as their new head coach for the 2016-17 season. The 905 are the D-League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors and were an expansion team last season.
Jesse Mermuys, who coached the 905 to a 15-23 mark during their inaugural season, left the organization after one season to join Luke Walton’s coaching staff with the Los Angeles Lakers. That created an opening at the head of the Mississauga, Ontario, D-League squad’s bench, and Stackhouse will reportedly fill it.
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft, Stackhouse quickly proved an explosive slasher and ace wing scorer. Traded midway through his third season, he spent his best years with the Detroit Pistons, making consecutive All-Star appearances in 2000 and 2001, leading the league in total points in the latter campaign while finishing second to Philly’s Allen Iverson for the per-game scoring crown. The 41-year-old hung up his high-tops in 2013 after brief stints with the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks that followed more substantial stretches with the Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards.
After the end of his playing days, Stackhouse briefly dabbled in television work as part of Pistons and NBA TV broadcasts before a trip to watch his son play an AAU game led him to decide to try his hand at coaching, according to Eric Koreen of Sportsnet:
“Honestly, the main reason I’m here right now is because of my seventh-grade son [Antonio],” Stackhouse said. “I walked into the gym one day to go and watch him play an AAU game, and it was just like, ‘I can’t take this any more. They should be playing better basketball. They’re at an age now where they should know more about the game of basketball and spacing and how to share the floor and how to share the basketball and how to defend.’ So I was like, ‘I’m going to start a team with these same guys and coach them.’ I did that and we had success. I caught the bug. I had the fever.
“I don’t know if you choose coaching. Coaching kind of chooses you.”
The 18-year NBA veteran quickly worked his way into a top-flight gig, joining Dwane Casey’s staff with the Raptors last season. After a successful first season Stackhouse served as an assistant on a Toronto squad that won a franchise-record 56 games and made the Eastern Conference finals, Stackhouse headed to Las Vegas, spending some time actively coaching on the sideline with the Raptors’ Summer League team, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:
Raptors assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse got to be the head coach for a recent win and enjoyed it. He even engaged in some jawing, something he was famous for while a player.
“Oh yeah, I said: ‘The ball game, it’s over.’ I still had my trash talk with me,” Stackhouse said.
“It’s not like my first time in the sidelines, but grassroots, AAU ball doesn’t really count. It’s a lot more pressure-filled, but we’ve got a great staff.”
Now, Stackhouse will be charged with fostering the development of young players like recent Raptor draft picks Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl, helping them hone their skills and learn not only how to play the game at the next level, but how to do so in the style that Casey and Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri continue to work to establish for the top club. In addition to those instructional responsibilities, Stackhouse will have to work with players from wide-ranging backgrounds, from highly touted lottery picks to career journeymen looking for one more shot at the league. On that score, he believes his vast pro experience will pay major dividends. From Chris O’Leary of the Toronto Star:
“I’ve been on every seat on that bench. From a star player to the guy who got all the touches, to the guy who had to redefine their role to still maximize their potential in the league,” he said. “As my career was ending, it came down to being more of a mentor and still having a role within the team where you may not play every night or get a ton of minutes, but when you get your minutes, knowing how to be effective. That’s what I bring to the table that probably, quite frankly, nobody else does. I embrace that.”
If he’s able to translate that wealth of experience into helping his charges improve as players and professionals — and, of course, into wins on the court — it might not be too long before we see Stack coming up for consideration as the next ex-player to join the likes of Walton, Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd and Earl Watson as recent retirees to take the reins of NBA teams. One thing we know for sure: Stack’s going to have the undivided attention and full respect of his young players … because if he doesn’t, all he’ll need to do is send them to YouTube.
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