Hey, there’s a new bench boss north of the border. Sorry this is a bit late, I was watching the new Spider-Man. It was great.
The Raptors have hired Darko Rajaković as the leader of the next era. Let’s give you the rundown really quickly:
He started playing basketball at 7 years old, quit at 16 once he realized he wouldn’t be good enough to pursue it as a player, and immediately started coaching. From there, he was an assistant coach in youth basketball in Serbia, then a head coach of youth basketball in Serbia. During this time, he also studied a bit under Lute Olson (University of Arizona in 2003) and Mike Krzyzewski (Duke 2007), and served as a scouting consultant and NBA Summer League assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. Busy guy. In 2009, he became the head coach of Espacio Torrelodones in the 4th tier Spanish League, and after that moved on to become the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers.
After Tulsa, Rajaković began his NBA assistant coaching career that saw him spend time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he also acted as their head coach at Summer League twice (2014, 2015). Was plucked by the Phoenix Suns to help guide their massive turnaround. Then plucked by the Grizzlies to guide their massive turnaround. He’s also an assistant coach on the Serbian National team.
So, I’m currently doing a whole bunch of research on him and will have informative stuff in the coming days, but Rajaković is actually one of the more forthcoming coaches at his level in the world and I’ll link some interviews and articles (!) he’s written below. He’s a huge basketball nerd. It’s great. If you’re not interested in diving in, I’ll be doing that work for you. But, here they are anyway:
Enjoy! Talk soon!