Utah Jazz: Michael Sanders promoted to assistant coach; Brad Jones hired as assistant coach/player development
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin couldn't put a number on how many phone calls he's received about the vacancy that recently opened up on his staff.
However, hopeful Jazz assistant coaches can now only send their resumes to the front office for future consideration.
The job, which barely opened up this past weekend when Scott Layden was hired by San Antonio, has already been filled.
And Corbin did his hiring quickly and with a couple of familiar faces.
On Wednesday, the Jazz announced that Michael Sanders has been promoted to be a full-time assistant coach after being the player development coach last season. At the same time, former Utah Flash coach Brad Jones will join the organization and take over Sanders' old spot as an assistant/player development coach.
Sidney Lowe and Jeff Hornacek round out Corbin's coaching staff.
"You can't imagine how many calls we got. It's a great thing when something opens up the number of people that have interest in joining our organization and joining what we're doing," Corbin said. "That's a great accomplishment. I think it shows they both respect and like what we're doing and want to be a part of it. I'm still getting calls from a lot of folks. … I like where we are."
Continuing a recent trend, Jones had been employed by the Spurs' organization as the head coach of the 2012 D-League champion Austin Toros. Jones, the nephew of Jerry Sloan's late wife, Bobbye Sloan, was a Jazz scout from 2001-07 and coached the Flash from 2007-10.
A month ago, the Jazz plucked Dennis Lindsey from San Antonio to be Utah's general manager.
In turn, Layden was hired by the Spurs last week to take Lindsey's old assistant general manager position.
Corbin liked what Jones did both in Orem with the Flash (two playoff appearances) and in Austin with the Toros the past couple of years. As such, the Jazz coach had Jones on his short list of potential coaching candidates.
"Brad was a guy I respected the work he did down in the D-League in Orem. We had a relationship. He understood how we do things around the Jazz organization," Corbin said. "And then he went to a great organization in San Antonio. I thought he did a great job there."
Sanders joined Corbin's staff prior to the beginning of the lockout-shortened season after previously spending time on the benches of Detroit, Milwaukee and Charlotte, among other basketball jobs.
"I was fortunate last year," Corbin said, "in being able to get Mike as a player development coach with his experience as a player (and) the fact that he's been a bench coach in this league."
Corbin credited the former 11-year NBA player for aiding in the development of young bigs Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors along with veterans Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Corbin specifically pointed out how Sanders helped then-19-year-old Kanter work on using his body in the paint, improving his low-post moves and "got him up to speed."
"I'm extremely happy with the work that Mike has done with us so far," Corbin said, "and we expect him to continue to work and develop our guys to get better."
Corbin has no immediate plans to hire a specific big man coach to solely focus on helping promising posts Kanter and Favors.
"We'll do it by committee," he said.
For now, Corbin said his staff is communicating by phone but will gather together in Salt Lake City the third week of September ahead of training camp, which opens up in the beginning of October.
Corbin said he feels comfortable with the experience level on his coaching crew.
Lowe is a two-time NBA head coach and college coach. Sanders has been an assistant with three other teams in the league. Hornacek excelled in the league for 14 seasons and has been coaching with the Jazz in some capacity since 2007. And Jones has experience developing up-and-coming talent in the D-League.
"We're in good shape right now. I'm happy with the guys we have on staff. These guys have done a good job for us," Corbin said. "Brad will be an addition for us. He's going to be good for us. We're in a good place in my opinion. If there's an opportunity to add a piece (to the staff) down the road, we'll explore it."
In the meantime, Corbin will continue to prepare for his first full training camp and first 82 game season of his NBA head-coaching career.
"We're anxious to get started to see where we are individually and then we have to build a team again," Corbin said, noting the additions of veterans Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye.
"There are a lot of questions still around," he added. "We have to build a team again, and that's going to be working every day from Day 1 to understand who we are and how we have to work together to be an effective team on the floor."
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