Ime Udoka: Boston Celtics to appoint Nigerian-American former basketball player as new coach
Nigerian-American former basketball player, Ime Udoka has been contracted to become the next Boston Celtics head coach according to reports.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday that Boston has finalized the deal with Nets assistant coach Udoka to be their new head coach.
Reports say the position opened during the offseason when Danny Ainge stepped down from his role as Boston GM and former head coach Brad Stevens moved up into the role of head of basketball operations.
Who is Ime Udoka?
Udoka’s father is from Akwa Ibom state in south-south Nigeria. He was in America for education, where he earned his degree in business and raised his family in Portland.
Udoka was eligible for Nigerian citizenship through his father and he played for the Nigeria National Team at the 2005 FIBA African Championship, where he helped the team won a bronze medal.
In the final game, Udoka scored 24 points to help Nigeria defeat Algeria 88-76. He continued to play for the team, and helped Nigeria qualify out of the group stage in the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Udoka still won more accolades with the Nigerian National Team. In 2011 he won another bronze medal at the AfroBasket, after the team defeated Ivory Coast 77-67.
He is engaged to actress Nia Long, and they have a nine-year-old child together.
Udoka coaching experience
Udoka has been in the NBA as an assistant coach for nearly ten years, majority of that time he spent working under his former head coach at San Antonio, Gregg Popovich.
After seven seasons in the NBA and the time he spent playing for UCAM Murcia CB in Spain in 2012, Udoka returned back to Spurs in 2012 as an assistant coach. He was a part of the staff in 2014 when they beat Miami Heat to capture the NBA championship.
Udoka joined the staff of the 76ers for the 2019-20 campaign, from their he moved to Nets for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Udoka playing career
Udoka is well traveled across the world during his playing career.
The 6-foot-6 forward, played college age with San Francisco and Portland State and played one season with Club Sportivo Independiente, an Argentinian basketball team in the Liga Nacional de Basquet.
Then in 2002 he was drafted into the NBA Developmental League where he spent one season with North Charleston and made a brief appearance with Lakers in 2004 where he played four games and averaged two points.
The next two seasons, 2004 and 2005, he spent in Europe, first he played for Gran Canaria in Spain and eventually he joined JA Vichy in France.
He went through the NBDL Draft again in 2005 where Fort Worth Flyers took him third before he reached the NBA again in 2006 with the Knicks, where he averaged 2.8 points.
His best season was in 2006-07 when he started 75 games for the Trail Blazers and averaged 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
He played the next four campaigns for San Antonio, where he averaged 4.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game for 160 games, he had only three starts.
Udoka’s last stop was in Spain with UCAM Murcia CB in 2012 before he retired as a player.