Reno Bighorns Name Joel Abelson Head Coach
The Reno Bighorns, NBA D-League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings, have named Joel Abelson as the team’s new head coach, according to Bighorns General Manager and Kings Director of Player Personnel Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Prior to joining the Bighorns, Abelson served as the head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, guiding the team to a 10-win improvement from the previous season with a record of 25-25, just one game shy of a playoff berth.
Abelson’s experience includes four seasons as the Idaho Stampede’s associate head coach (2008-09 - 2011-12). He broke into the NBA D-League as director of basketball operations with the Tulsa 66ers in 2007-08 working under Joey Meyer following a basketball operations internship with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2007.
The University of Michigan graduate was an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors summer league entry in July 2012 and also trained collegiate and professional players at the Bob Hill Basketball Camp (2009, 2010) and Impact Basketball (2008).
The Kings, Reno Bighorns and the NBA Development League announced in July a single affiliation partnership beginning with the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, making Sacramento the 14th NBA franchise to establish a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA D-League team.
This partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” is the seventh of its kind in the NBA D-League and allows the Kings to pay for and control the Bighorns’ basketball operations, while existing local ownership in Reno maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.