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Olympics over, USA Basketball exec joins Nets in scouting job

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Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes spilled the beans from Rio in a tweet:  B.J. Johnson, the assistant director of Team USA, is joining the Nets as coordinator of player evaluation, a scouting job.

Barnes beat the Nets official announcement by about an hour.  It was one of two scouting announcements the team made Monday morning.  The other is the naming of  Gianluca Pascucci of the Rockets as director of global scouting.

Johnson, who played ball at Villanova (and apparently speaks some Chinese), has been men's national team assistant director at USA Basketball since 2009.  He tweeted out his gratitude.

According to his bio on USA Basketball's home page...

Johnson works with all levels of USA Basketball men's teams, but his primary focus is on developing the successful USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team program. He coordinates athletes and staff involved in men's junior team trials, training camps, exhibition games and international competitions.

The United States has been dominant in junior team competition the last several years, winning both the U16 and U18 world titles.

Johnson was a walk-on at Villanova where he was a top student-athlete, majoring in computer science and minoring in Chinese.  He will likely operate out of Greensboro, N.C., his hometown.

Pascucci joins the Nets after spending the past four years as vice president of player personnel for the Houston Rockets.  The Nets detailed his role with the Rockets and before that in European basketball.

During his time in Houston, he also served as the general manager of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the D-League affiliate of the Rockets. It marked Pascucci’s second stint in Houston, as he previously served as the team’s international scout for six seasons (2002-08).

Prior to rejoining the Rockets, Pascucci spent four years in Italy with Olimpia Milano from 2008-12. His most recent role with the team was general manager and CEO.

Johnson and Pascucci join a diverse group of scouting personnel hired by the Nets since Sean Marks took over, including Shelden WIlliams, the former Duke standout and NBA player, and Charles Payne, a former assistant coach at Stanford, California and Florida International.  The new management retained some of the team's scouting staff, but dumped others.   The Nets have retained Danko Cvjeticanin, their long-time international scout, for example.

"We are thrilled to add Gianluca and BJ to our front office," said Marks. "Collectively, they bring valuable experiences that cross many platforms and their extensive knowledge of both the NBA and the global game will be tremendous assets to our scouting department. Both will be excellent additions to our culture and we are excited about welcoming them to Brooklyn."

By our count, the hiring of Johnson and Pascucci brings to 25 the number of new staff hired by Marks since he took over as GM in early February.