Spurs assistant Ime Udoka meets with Tom Gores

The Detroit Pistons search for a head coach continues, as owner Tom Gores meets with Dwane Casey and Ime Udoka in the past two days.

The Detroit Pistons coaching search, while unfruitful, has been at least entertaining. They’ve attempted to play homewrecker by trying to pry Kenny Smith from Inside the NBA and John Beilein from the University of Michigan.

But on Wednesday, the coaching search apparently narrowed. Adrian Wojarnowski of ESPN reported that San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka was meeting with Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores Wednesday evening.

This was just six hours after reporting that John Beilein had removed himself from consideration from the Pistons head coaching vacancy.

Ime Udoka, while possibly most famous for dating Nia Long, has been an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs since 2012. He was a player in the NBA as recently as 2011. To be recruited to join Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff just a year removed from playing speaks volumes to Udoka’s maturity.

In fact, during his tenure, Udoka’s calm presence has often been the barrier in between the officials and Popovich during Popovich’s frequent referee lambastings. This would be a stark contrast to what Pistons fans are used to after Stan Van Gundy’s nightly tantrums.

After watching Brad Stevens’, Steve Kerr’s and even Ty Lue’s calm demeanors play a role in leading their teams to the final four of the NBA playoffs, it may be time for the Pistons to move in a similar direction.

Udoka’s so calm, that patience is literally his first name. No seriously, Ime means patience in the Efik-Ibibio language of Akwa Ibom where his Nigerian Father is from. 

Along with a calming presence, Udoka is known for building relationships with players.

Kyle Anderson of the Spurs, spoke on Udoka to ESPN: “If he has to get on you he’ll get on you but he knows how to talk to us, [he] knows how to handle players.” 

Lamarcus Aldridge, a former teammate of Udoka’s, also spoke highly of his ability to connect with players.

“He’s been the guy that I work with every summer since I’ve been here. He’s been a big part of me getting more comfortable.” 

After six years of coaching alongside Pop, Udoka’s patience may have finally paid off. Now let’s hope this branch of the Pop coaching tree doesn’t let the apple fall too far from the tree.




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