After recently losing longtime assistant coach Johnnie Bryant to a promotion with the New York Knicks, it was only a matter of time before the Utah Jazz hired a replacement.
Actually, they’ve hired two.
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is filling the vacancy by adding Dell Demps and Keyon Dooling to his staff, the team announced Friday.
Both are familiar faces to Snyder, if perhaps unconventional choices for his bench, given that neither has ever served as an NBA coach in any capacity.
The 50-year-old Demps is best known for his time as the New Orleans Pelicans’ seniorvice president of basketball operations and general manager from 2010-19. He and Snyder previously worked together in the then-D League with the Austin Toros (the affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs) between 2007-10, where Demps served as GM and Snyder as the head coach.
“I was fortunate to work with Dell to begin my career as a head coach in professional basketball, and I know he will delve into his role on the bench,” Snyder said in a statement issued by the Jazz. “He has an incredible work ethic and commitment to his craft. His vast experience both as a player and in front office roles brings a unique perspective that will be invaluable to our team. We’re excited to welcome him to the Jazz.”
Demps appeared in 20 NBA games between 1993-97, with the Warriors, Spurs, and Magic, and played professional basketball around the globe for eight years. He later spent time as a scout for the Knicks, and was promoted to Director of Pro Player Personnel. He also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the D League’s Mobile Revelers from 2001-03.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with coach Snyder again,” Demps said in the team’s statement. “I have always had tremendous respect for Quin and the Jazz organization. I look forward to joining this talented coaching staff and working with our players. My wife Anita and I couldn’t be more excited to make the move to Utah and become a part of a tremendous community.”
Dooling, 40, will also be making his NBA coaching debut with the Jazz, after he was hired to serve in a player development role — the area where Bryant earned a sterling reputation throughout the league. After playing for Snyder at the University of Missouri, Dooling played in the NBA from 2000-13, with seven teams. He has career averages of 7.0 points and 2.2 assists in 728 career NBA games.
“Keyon is a fantastic addition for us on multiple levels and someone I’ve always had tremendous respect for since our time at Missouri where we formed a close bond that has continued throughout the years,” said Snyder. “He’s a natural leader who was a captain on multiple teams in the league, and I have no doubt that the way he approached the game as a player will translate to the work he puts in with our roster on the court.”
Following his retirement from playing, Dooling began working with the NBA Players Association, where he has served as a wellness counselor and mental health advocate since 2014.
“I am so appreciative of the opportunity to join coach Snyder’s staff,” said Dooling. “Every former player who loves the game would leap at a chance like this. Player development has always been a cornerstone of coach Snyder’s programs, and I couldn’t be more excited to get on the court and embrace that process with this next generation of players.”