SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have officially hired a team manager of player development.
And it turns out, there was a reason why coach Tyrone Corbin hinted that the new staff addition might not be a member of the Jazz family or be a big man, per se.
Michael Sanders, a former NBA assistant coach and 11-year player, was announced as the newest player mentor this morning by the organization.
Sanders has logged stints as an NBA assistant and scout with three different teams. A 6-foot-6 swingman, Sanders will help tutor the Jazz bigs, including Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. He played for four different NBA teams, and incidentally was included in a trade that sent him away from Phoenix and moved Corbin to the Suns.
Sanders most recently worked for the D-League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants as an assistant coach in 2010-11.
The 51-year-old began his coaching career in 1998 as an assistant with the Wisconsin Blast of the International Basketball Association. He's also coached for the IBA's Black Hills Gold, the United States Basketball League's Washington Congressionals, the D-League's Asheville Altitude, USBL's Adirondack Wildcats along with the Pistons, Bucks and Bobcats in the NBA.
Sanders' strongest ties to the Jazz organization come from his four-year career at UCLA and his playing days in Phoenix.
Sanders was on the Bruins' 1980 team, which reached the NCAA championship game. That team was coached by Larry Brown and assistant Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's general manager.
Six years later, he became current Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek's teammate with the Suns. They played together from 1986-88 until Sanders and Corbin swapped teams (Cleveland and Phoenix) in a five-player trade.
Sanders has been inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and was listed as the 29th greatest Cleveland Cavalier player of all-time by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
He will be with the team in time for its first practice of the 2011-12 season Friday evening.
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