Joe Prunty in first head coaching gig stuns Eurobasket

Cleveland Cavaliers

When the Nets announced their final batch (we think) of assistant coaches, they laid out Joe Prunty's impressive record as an NBA assistant. There were his nine seasons, and three rings, in various capacities with the Spurs; three seasons with the Mavericks when they were 178-68 (.724); two seasons with the Trail Blazers when they had their first back-to-back 50-win seasons and the last three rebuilding with the Cavaliers.

Not mentioned was his latest gig: head coach of the Great Britain national team. Not much of an oversight: The Brits were in the midst of losing six straight games in the Eurobasket "friendly" competition and were without four top players had at one point or another worn the Queen's livery: Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Joel Freeland and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, one of FIBA's top players. Maybe best not to draw too much attention to it.

That all changed Wednesday when GB beat a good Israeli team in FIBA Eurobasket's opening day of action. It was the biggest upset of the day and Prunty was getting a lot of credit for it.  ESPN's Mark Woods profiles Prunty and his British team, noting as well that Jason Kidd had personally recruited the 18-year NBA veteran.

The point of Woods' profile is despite his coaching pedigree, his success with winning clubs, that "not once has the 48-year-old Californian been granted an interview for a head-coaching position in the NBA, almost an anomaly among those from the Popovich coaching tree."

That was not the case with the Brits, who put him through a rigorous interview process before hiring him. Prunty says it wasn't a "strategic move," that is, a resume-building decision but a "great honor," one that's now enhanced by the big win against Israel.

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