McMillan named one of three U.S. basketball assistant coaches

Pacers coach Nate McMillan says he feels 'blessed again' to have another opportunity to support the U.S. national basketball team.
AP

Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan will be one of three assistant coaches on Gregg Popovich’s staff for the U.S. national basketball team, USA Basketball announced Thursday.

Steve Kerr and Jay Wright — the coaches of the NBA and NCAA championship teams — will be the other two assistants.

The trio of coaches will work with Popovich in the 2019 Basketball World Cup and 2020 Olympics, assuming the Americans qualify for both events.

The defending champion Americans are closing in on qualifying for the 2019 worlds in China, which will serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.

McMillan led the Pacers to the playoffs last season. He was part of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff from 2006-12, when the Americans won two Olympic gold medals and the 2010 world championship.

“My previous experience I figured to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and now I’ve been blessed again,” McMillan said.

Kerr has led Golden State to two straight and three of the last four NBA championships. He played for the U.S. in the 1986 world championships, the last gold medal won by a U.S. senior men’s team composed strictly of amateurs. He won two of his five NBA titles playing for Popovich in San Antonio. They have remained close and are among the NBA’s most outspoken coaches.

“I had the good fortune to participate in our USA Basketball program as an amateur,” Kerr said, “and to have the chance to return to the world stage three decades later and work under Pop, one of my former coaches and a mentor, is a tremendous honor.”

Wright guided Villanova to the 2016 and 2018 NCAA titles. He has worked with multiple USA Basketball teams, including as an assistant to Popovich in 2016 with the select team of players that trained with the Olympic team that won gold in Rio.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo says the Americans have assembled “an incredible coaching staff.”