HUNTSVILLE, Ala., May 10 --
Bob Thornton, an eight-year NBA veteran and former professional coach, has been named head coach of the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) team in Huntsville, Ala.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for me to once again be a part of the NBA family and continue coaching," said Thornton. "I have always had a passion for teaching the game and will create an environment that stresses fundamentals, focuses on team play and makes for an exciting atmosphere for fans."
Thornton played for five NBA teams: New York (1985-86 to 1987-88), Philadelphia (1987-88 to 1989-90), Minnesota (1990-91), Utah (1991-92) and Washington (1995-96). He averaged 3.0 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game. He also played three seasons in the A-1 Italian Basketball League for Rome, Siena and Pavia.
Following his NBA playing career, Thornton spent two seasons coaching in the collegiate ranks as an assistant at Chapman University (1997-98) and Cal State-Fullerton University (1998-99). He then worked as an assistant coach for the Continental Basketball Association's 1999-2000 champion Yakima Sun Kings, where he was responsible for scouting, game preparation and film breakdown, as well as assisting with player personnel decisions and supervising player activities.
Highlights from Bob Thornton's playing career:
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This past season, Thornton was named head coach of the CBA's Quad City Thunder where he oversaw all personnel decisions and player recruitment, and played an active role in leading the team's community outreach programs.
"The NBDL and Huntsville are fortunate to land a coach with Bob's experience, knowledge and perspective," said Rob Levine, the NBA's Senior Vice President, New League Development. "Thornton's professional and collegiate coaching experience will enable him to make an immediate impact on his team in Huntsville and bring first-class basketball to fans across the Valley."
A native of Los Angeles, Thornton earned a bachelor's degree in social science from the University of California-Irvine. Over his four-year collegiate career, Thornton averaged 8.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg. The Knicks selected Thornton in the fourth round (87th overall) in the 1984 NBA Draft.
The National Basketball Development League will tip off its inaugural season in November 2001 with teams based in eight Southeastern U.S. cities and a 56-game regular season schedule that runs from mid-November through March, followed by playoffs. A total of 24 games will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN starting on opening night. Regular weekly coverage will begin in December 2001 and continue throughout the regular season and playoffs.
Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the NBDL offers players the opportunity to develop their talent in a highly competitive atmosphere under the NBA's umbrella. In addition to being a source of on-court talent for the NBA's 29 teams, the NBDL will also serve as a diverse human resources pool for the NBA and its teams by training employees in management, operations, public relations, sales and marketing positions in each NBDL city.
NBDL players must be 20 years of age or older to play in the league. NBDL teams will not have a direct affiliation with specific NBA teams. Development league players will be eligible to play for any NBA team.
In addition to launching this new professional basketball league, the NBA and SFX Entertainment, Inc., a leading producer and promoter of live entertainment, have formed a joint alliance to offer NBDL cities the opportunity to experience world-class live entertainment not traditionally available in their metropolitan areas. Season ticket reservations can be made by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX or logging onto NBA.com. For more information on the NBDL, visit www.NBDL.com.