INVICTUS Sports Group is very glad to announce an historical event: Darko Rajakovic (agency: INVICTUS Sports Group ) will be the first European head coach ever to lead an American basketball team! He just joined the NBA Finalist Oklahoma City Thunder to work together with the technical staff during the 2012/2013 pre-season, then starting from November he will be the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers, the second team of OKC. There have already been European coaches to make the role of assistants in NBA or college basketball teams, but it will be the first time for an European coach to be charged of the role of head coach in the United States. For sure, this opportunity came to Darko because of the important experience that he made in America in the past years, studying and learning basketball coaching in particular from Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) and Lute Olson (University of Arizona), then working some seasons for the San Antonio Spurs as scouting consultant since 2004 and as assistant coach at the NBA Summer League 2006. He also worked in a lot of important international tournaments and events, like Basketball Without Borders, NBA and Fiba Camp and the Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, in 2003 and 2004, as well as other prestigious basketball camps in Serbia, Greece, Spain and Italy. Hardworking, dedicated and high educated - he speaks Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian language as native, but also excellent English and Spanish and basic Greek language - he is a very young but already experienced coach. Born on February 22nd 1979 in Serbia, Darko Rajakovic is highly motivated and ambitious with capability of individual and team working, he also has strong communication and motivation skills and is specialized for player development. In the last three seasons he was the head coach of Espacio Torrelodones in the Spanish EBA League, leading a very young group to positive results. His basketball coaching career started when he was only 16 years old, as the youngest coach ever in the history of BC Borac Cacak, and since 2007 and 2009 he also led the Basketball Academy for Individual Workouts in Belgrade - after graduating in Basketball Coach and Sports Management. At the age of 19 he joined Red Star Belgrade as the (youngest, again) coach of the Under 20 and Under 18 team. During the 8 years spent with Red Star, he won the State and National Youth Championship titles twice, specializing in working with young players, but also assisting the head coach of the senior team in pre-season. During the month of October, Darko worked with the technical staff of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and now this is a fundamental step in his career, as well as in the "basketball network" of INVICTUS Sports Group between Europe, Russia and America.
SAM PRESTI: "DARKO BRING US THE EUROPEAN INFLUENCE"
In the official press release announcing that Darko Rajakovic is the new head coach of the Tulsa 66ers in D-League for the 2012/2013 season starting on November 23rd, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Presti commented this historical decision: We are pleased to welcome Darko to the Thunder organization, we value his diverse basketball background and embrace the European influence that he will have on our development program in Tulsa. It's not a case that previously in his career Sam Presti had a very important role in the organization of the San Antonio Spurs, the first team to believe and invest in creating a strong connection between NBA and European basketball. In the same way, Darko collaborated for years with the Spurs organization, studying and learning basketball coaching in particular from Gregg Popovich, then working as scout consultant for the Spurs since 2004 and as assistant coach at the NBA Summer League 2006.
ZORAN SAVIC: INVICTUS WILL FOCUS IN CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES BETWEEN USA AND EUROPEAN BASKETBALL
The President of INVICTUS Sports Group, Zoran Savic expressed his deep satisfaction for the joining of Darko Rajakovic to the Tulsa 66ers in the important and historical role of head coach: This is a very important step for European basketball. After the experience made last season by Ettore Messina working with coach Mike Brown in the technical staff of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA, this represent one more step forward: for the first time ever, an European head coach will lead a basketball team in the USA. For sure the longtime collaboration of Darko with the San Antonio Spurs, directly collaborating with Sam Presti, played a decisive role in this decision. In the same time, this is one more confirmation that the connection between NBA and European basketball is becoming stronger and stronger in both directions, and for this reason in the next months INVICTUS Sports Group will focus its work also to develop this connection and create new opportunities.
D-Fenders Finalize Staff for 10th Season - 17 hours ago
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The Los Angeles D-Fenders have finalized the team's staff for the 2016-17 season by welcoming five members to the franchise, it was announced today by General Manager Nick Mazzella. The move comes after four staffers received promotions to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason. Isaiah Fox will join Paul Woolpert and Brian Walsh as assistant coaches on the Los Angeles bench. Meanwhile, Heather Mau has been named head athletic trainer, and she will be joined by Misha Cavaye who will overs... [read more]
The Los Angeles D-Fenders have finalized the team's staff for the 2016-17 season by welcoming five members to the franchise, it was announced today by General Manager Nick Mazzella. The move comes after four staffers received promotions to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason. Isaiah Fox will join Paul Woolpert and Brian Walsh as assistant coaches on the Los Angeles bench. Meanwhile, Heather Mau has been named head athletic trainer, and she will be joined by Misha Cavaye who will oversee strength and conditioning, massage therapy and team equipment. Lastly, Adam Cave will take over as the team's primary video coordinator and Nick Lagios returns as a basketball operations assistant. Walsh and Woolpert return for their second season on the D-fenders bench after guiding Los Angeles to a Western Conference championship in 2016. Walsh's experiences have taken him around the world as he's coached internationally in Venezuela, Belarus, China and Vietnam, in addition to the NBA D-League. Meanwhile, Woolpert adds 30 years of coaching experience in the NBA D-League, Continental Basketball Association and National Basketball League in Australia, winning three CBA championships as a head coach. A former McDonald's All-America nominee, the 6-foot-9 Fox lettered for the University of Arizona basketball team from 2002-06. At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Fox was drafted by the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League in 2008 before gaining international experience in Australia, Mexico and Japan. Specializing in player development, he has mentored athletes at various levels and joins the team after most recently instructing student-athletes at Monrovia High School in nearby Monrovia, California. Mau takes over the athletic training duties in the place of D-Fenders team veteran Nina Hsieh, who was promoted to the Lakers staff in July. In her role, Mau will be in charge of monitoring the health of the team and is responsible for injury prevention and treatment of all players. She most recently worked at Cal State Northridge, where she provided services for up to five varsity sports. A graduate of Adelphi University, Mau holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and a Masters in Athletic Training from California Baptist University. Cavaye will work closely with Mau in his role as strength and conditioning coach, massage therapist and equipment manager. The London, England, native has an extensive history with the Los Angeles Lakers organization, having served as an assistant equipment manager with the team since 2011. Since 2014, Cavaye has been a performance coach with Velocity Sport Performance and a posture therapist for Myodetox, specializing at in-home pain treatment, rehabilitation and other manual therapies. He is a graduate of Cal State Northridge and Concordia University. Cave joins the team after spending the last year as a student assistant coach and video coordinator for the Pomona-Pitzer men's basketball team. Additionally, the Pitzer College graduate spent two seasons as a data analytics intern for the Los Angeles Clippers and interned in the communications department for the Los Angeles Sparks. He replaces Will Scott, who now functions as a video coordinator on the Lakers staff after five seasons with the D-Fenders. Lagios returns to Los Angeles after a brief stint with the team in 2016. The University of Colorado graduate will once again serve as a basketball operations assistant, providing video analysis, statistical breakdowns and other assistance to the GM and coaching staff. Lagios was most recently a team assistant with the Australian National Basketball Team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and he has prior experience in assisting the Stanford men's basketball team. The D-Fenders will return for their 10th season when the team hosts the Iowa Energy at 7:30 p.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 11, from the Toyota Sports Center. Winners of two conference championships, Los Angeles will look to capture its first NBA D-League title in 2016-17. Courtesy of: oursportscentral.com
Well-traveled Vander Blue (6'5''-SG-92, college: Marquette) has signed a contract with the D-League and is likely to play with the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Blue played with the Guangxi Rhinos of China last season. He went undrafted by the NBA in 2013 but did spent some time with the Boston Celtics. Blue has also served numerous stints in the D-League with the Delaware 87ers, Maine Red Claws, and D-Fenders. His pro career began in Israel with Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion. [read more]
Former NBA swingman Carrick Felix (6'6''-G/F-90, college: Arizona St.) will return to the D-League after signing a contract for the 2016-17 season. Felix's rights are held by the Long Island Nets. Felix was a second-round NBA draft pick in 2013 and has spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs traded him to the Utah Jazz in the summer of 2014. He was waived by the Jazz prior to the season. He has also played for the Canton Charge and Santa Cruz Warriors. The Warriors waived him a... [read more]
Felix was a second-round NBA draft pick in 2013 and has spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs traded him to the Utah Jazz in the summer of 2014. He was waived by the Jazz prior to the season. He has also played for the Canton Charge and Santa Cruz Warriors. The Warriors waived him after one month after Felix suffered a serious knee injury.
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