Free agency is right around the corner, but the New York Knicks decided to make a splash last week. SNY’s Ian Begley reported that New York and Rick Brunson were close to finalizing a contract to make him the organization’s newest assistant coach. Brunson will fill the spot of Kenny Payne, who’s now the head coach at Louisville.
In case you’re new here, you might be wondering why an assistant coach hire has caused such an uproar. Well, Rick’s the father of Jalen Brunson, a point guard that the Knicks have been linked to in numerous rumors. Jalen will be an unrestricted free agent if he and the Dallas Mavericks don’t agree to an extension.
Does the hiring of Rick mean that Jalen’s a lock to sign with the Knicks? No, but it means something at the very least. How often is it that a target’s father joins the team’s coaching staff? Don’t read too much into it, but it should raise some eyebrows.
Because fans are most likely far more familiar with Jalen than they are with Rick, let’s delve into some information about the new assistant coach.
Who is New York Knicks’ new assistant coach Rick Brunson?
5: Most recently served as a high school coach
Rick has a background as an assistant coach in the NBA, but he’s making his way to New York via Camden High School in New Jersey. Camden is exactly 100 miles from the city.
He coached at Camden for three seasons and navigated the Panthers to a 73-4 record during that span. This past season, Rick led Camden to a state title, the school’s first in 22 years.
In response to Rick leaving his role as head coach of the Panthers, Brian Gregg, the school’s junior varsity coach said (per TAPinto Camden):
“I think in his time here, Rick laid a great foundation,” said Gregg. “He brought such a high level of discipline and expectations to the program.” Gregg said Brunson also “ shielded the kids from some of that outside nonsense” that came along with the team’s growing reputation as a national powerhouse.
The NBA is obviously a completely different beast than high school basketball, but for a team like the Knicks, they’d like to see a growth similar to what the Panthers have experienced.