The Utah Jazz just announced that they have added former NBA bigman DeSagana Diop to their coaching staff. He is going to be a coaching associate, and I think that’s awesome. From the Jazz’ own Press Release:
The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has hired DeSagana Diop (sa-GAH-na JOP) as a coaching associate. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
As a coaching associate, Diop will assist the Jazz coaching staff in a variety of capacities including work on the court during practices and individual player workouts, video editing and analysis, and other team preparation.
The coaching associate position was created by the Jazz to provide prospective coaches an opportunity to gain further experience in an apprenticeship role in order to better prepare them for a future career in coaching.
Prior to joining the Jazz, Diop spent the previous two seasons working on the coaching staff of the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League (2014-16), serving one year as a player development coach before being promoted to assistant coach prior to last season.
A former first-round pick (eighth overall) of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2001 NBA Draft directly out of high school, Diop played 12 seasons (2001-13) and appeared in more than 600 career games with the Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and Charlotte Bobcats before. Known for his shot blocking abilities, Diop was a member of the 2006 Mavericks team that reached the NBA Finals.
A native of Senegal, Diop was a McDonald’s High School All-American coming out of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, and is also a former member of the Senegalese national team.
Diop is a legit bigman who thrived as a paint protector. He’s also a very hard worker an an earnest coaching prospect. He has been working in the D-League, as the press release states, but also on other league projects. He’s been at Attack Athletics / Harrison Street Athletic Facility many summers working with pro players and college guys a like — being a drill instructor at least once during the NBA Draft Combine.
I’m happy to have him on the squad, even if he’s not really going to be on the bench this season. But backing up the regular coaches should come naturally to him, who towered over the front line guys and had their back as an NBA player.