CANTON – The Cleveland Cavaliers today announced that Alex Jensen has been named the first-ever head coach of their new NBA Development League franchise in Canton. Canton General Manager Wes Wilcox made the announcement. Per team and league policy, terms of the contract were not released.
"Alex is a great fit for our team and organization and what we want to develop and accomplish in Canton. He has a very successful and diverse background that is rooted in strong defensive principles and learned from one of the best coaches and basketball teachers in college basketball in Rick Majerus,” said Wilcox. “Alex is also a strong communicator, has natural coaching instincts and understands the importance of building a team with a strong defensive foundation. We are very excited for him to get started.”
Known for both his breadth of experience and his unrelenting defensive tenacity, Jensen will lead Canton in its first NBADL season.
Jensen, 35, brings a wide range of experience and success to Canton. He earned such on-court honors as being named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year (2000) at Utah and the All-FIBA Europe Cup Defender of the Year (2004) while playing in Turkey. Most recently, he served as an assistant coach at Saint Louis University under his former collegiate coach, Majerus. During his time with the Billikens, Jensen helped lead St. Louis to their first postseason appearance since 2004 in 2009-10 with a 23-win season, and last season, he aided in Saint Louis allowing only 62.4 points per game.
“I would like to thank Saint Louis and especially Coach Rick Majerus, who has taught me so much, first as a player and later as a coach on his staff. He is one of the best in basketball and I will always be very grateful for the many, many things I have learned from him," said Jensen. “This is a rare and unique opportunity to be part of a great organization. I’m honored to be selected as the first coach in Canton franchise history and excited to get to work."
Jensen played professionally overseas in Turkey for seven seasons (2000-07) and also spent one season (2002-03) with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA, where he led the Sun Kings to the CBA title. He was named the All-FIBA Europe Cup Defender of the Year and to the All-FIBA Europe Cup First Team in 2004 after averaging 11.6 points and 11.8 rebounds in 10 games during the FIBA Europe Cup with Tuborg Izmir.
A native of Utah, Jensen starred at the University of Utah under Majerus. He helped lead the Utes to the NCAA Championship game in 1998 after earning NCAA West Region All-Tournament Team honors as a sophomore. As a junior, Jensen was named Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP after leading the team to the conference tournament championship. He earned the 2000 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors as a senior, averaging 13.1 points on .542 shooting and 7.5 rebounds in 32 games. While at Utah (1994-95 and 1997-00), his teams compiled a 109-24 (.820) record, finished in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today top 10 on two occasions (1997-99) and ranked among the nation’s elite defensively, finishing in the top 25 in opponent points per game all four seasons, including top-5 finishes in 1997-98 (4th) and 1998-99 (4th). From 1995-97, Jensen went on a two-year LDS church mission to England.
He was named the 1994 Utah Mr. Basketball and selected Utah Gatorade Player of the Year by USA Today while at Viewmont High School.