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Rockets Announce Coaching & Basketball Operations Staff Additions and Promotions

HOUSTON - The Houston Rockets announced today the hiring of Dean Cooper as assistant coach, Jesse Mermuys as assistant coach/Director of Player Development, Gianluca Pascucci as Director of Player Personnel/RGV Assistant GM, and Jason Staudt as NBA advance scout. In addition, the Rockets have promoted Jim Paulis to personnel scout/RGV Director of Scouting.

Cooper will be making his second stint with the Rockets, returning as an assistant coach for the 2012-13 campaign. He rejoins the Rockets after serving two seasons (2010-12) as the Player Development Director for the Portland Trail Blazers and a pair of campaigns with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an assistant coach and scout. Previously, Cooper worked in several roles over nine years (1999-2008) with the Rockets, including Vice President of Player Personnel in 2007-08. He was elevated into that position after working three years as the team’s Director of Scouting. In his first five years with Houston, Cooper served as video coordinator/scout for two seasons, assistant coach for two campaigns and as an NBA personnel scout for a year.

Mermuys comes to Houston after spending the past four seasons with the Denver Nuggets. He joined the Nuggets as assistant video coordinator prior to the 2008-09 campaign. After one season in that role, he became the Nuggets advance scout where he was responsible for scouting upcoming opponents throughout the league and also held player development responsibilities. He was elevated to assistant coach/advance scout for the 2011-12 campaign. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Mermuys served as director of basketball operations for the Wildcats from 2006-08. Before his time with Arizona, Mermuys was the video coordinator at New Mexico State University and was an assistant basketball coach at Southern Utah University during the 2005-06 season.

Pascucci also makes a return to the Rockets after spending the previous four years with Olimpia Milano, with his most recent position as the team’s General Manager and CEO. His previous stint with Houston was as an international scout for six seasons (2002-08). Pascucci was responsible for scouting assignments of international players overseas, as well as assisting in coordination of all Rockets staff travel during overseas scouting trips. A native of Pesaro, Italy, Pascucci also possesses over 12 years of international coaching experience, including as an assistant coach with Scavolini Pesaro’s senior team in the Italian A-1 League and Euroleague. Along with his coaching background, Pascucci spent several years scouting for Scavolini Pesaro.

Staudt comes to Houston after working seven years as video coordinator for the Milwaukee Bucks. Part of his responsibilities with the Bucks was preparing videos on upcoming opponents and scouting tapes on college and international prospects. Prior to joining Milwaukee, Staudt was an assistant coach with the Idaho Stampede of the CBA. Following the CBA season, he served as an advance scout for the Cleveland Cavaliers. A native of Lamesa, Texas, Staudt also worked for the Orlando Magic (2001-04), where be served as an intern, then as video coordinator, and his final season with the Magic, as video coordinator and advance scout. In addition to the NBA, Staudt worked abroad with the Georgian National Team, serving as an assistant coach.

Paulis moves into the role of personnel scout with the Rockets and as Rio Grande Valley Vipers Director of Scouting. He had served the past three seasons (2009-12) as assistant video and Basketball Operations coordinator. Paulis also worked as Rio Grande Valley’s personnel scout in 2011-12.