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Corey Vinson who worked with Mikal Bridges in Phoenix joins Nets as an assistant coach

Phoenix Suns

Corey Vinson who worked with Mikal Bridges as a development coach in Phoenix has joined him in Brooklyn as an assistant coach for player development, per Vinson’s LinkedIn page.

“I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as Assistant Coach/Player Development at Brooklyn Nets!” Vinson wrote last week on his LinkedIn account.

Vinson becomes the seventh assistant coach on Jacque Vaughn’s staff joining holdovers Adam Caporn, Ryan Forehan-Kelly and Trevor Hendry and newcomers Kevin Ollie, Jay Hernandez and Ronnie Burrell.

Brooklyn’s coaching staff has undergone a major turnover since season’s end in April. Igor Kokoskov, Brian Keefe and Tiago Splitter were not renewed and Royal Ivey left for the Rockets. With Vaughn being signed to a four-year extension, it’s not surprising he would want his own staff.

Vinson worked closely with Bridges in Phoenix, spending last summer helping the Nets new star work on becoming both more of a scorer and secondary playmaker. With Bridges being traded to Brooklyn in February and Suns head coach Monty Williams being dumped last month after another disappointing postseason, Vinson’s road from southwest to northeast is no surprise.

The move is the latest to indicate both that the Nets are pushing player development and that Bridges will be the centerpiece, on and off the court, of Brooklyn’s retooling following the departures of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline.

In a both an interview with JJ Redick on the Old Man and the Three podcast immediately after the trade in February and a more recent episode of The Pivot podcast, Bridges specifically shouted out Vinson as a coach who had helped him become more of well-rounded scorer in Phoenix, particularly after Devin Booker went down early last season and more of the offensive burden shifted to him. Bridges told The Pivot that Vinson had offered him encouragement when he was becoming frustrated.

“I struggled for a while,” Bridges told The Pivot. “But I had coaches that talked to me. Corey Vinson, he was one guy that I watched film with all the time. He would just sit there and we would just watch all the clips. I would play bad and we would lose and he’s literally just like, ‘It’s ok. This is part of the process, you’re gonna have to go through this.’

“As time went on, I became more efficient and started to understand the game more and be in that position of handling the ball more, making reads, and doing all the little things. It just became natural.”

Bridges was not alone in his praise...

Vinson, son of former NBA player and current Pelicans assistant Fred Vinson Jr,, has complimented Bridges work ethic and hunger to get better.

“When you see Mikal Bridges on the court, you know that he understands what his job is each and every night,” Vinson said in February 2022. “He’s just young and hungry. He wants to grow. He wants to get better every day. He’s expected to guard guys like LeBron (James) and Steph (Curry). He puts a lot of work in on the court, off the court.”

Development has been crucial in the coaching staff remake as Brian Lewis reports Friday, quoting Sean Marks from last month.

“As Jacque said, it’s going to be important to see how these guys develop over the summer, what they do,” Marks said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best of our core group yet. They’re young enough that they should still be developing, and that to me is exciting, when you get them around our coaching team, our performance team.”

Perhaps the most significant of the new hires is Ollie who played for 11 NBA teams in 13 years before taking the reins at his alma mater UConn and leading them to the NCAA championship in 2014. Jeff Green, the former Net and Ollie’s teammate with the Thunder, was asked this week about what Ollie can bring.

“With his leadership, his poise, his ability to communicate with people, it’s amazing. He’ll be a perfect fit [with the Nets], especially with the young guys that they have there now,” Green told Lewis. “He’ll be able to get to them, to have good conversation with them, to get them to do what’s necessary for them to turn the corner on that. … It’s all about being able to communicate and have a relationship with your players, and obviously he’s had great success in doing that.”

Ollie is also getting praise for his work as coaching director of the Overtime Elite development program. Two of his charges there, 6’7” twins Amen and Ausar Thompson, could both go in the first six picks in the NBA Draft on June 22.

In addition to Vinson announcing his new job, Alvin Dike, a New York-based physiotherapist, announced he is joining the Nets staff as a performance coach. He had a similar position last season with the Long Island Nets.