Grizzlies 2020-21 Coaching Staff
College - Pennsylvania
Taylor Jenkins enters his second season as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies after being named to the position on June 11, 2019.
Jenkins led the Grizzlies to franchise-record averages for points, 3-pointers made, rebounds, assists and pace during his first season on the sidelines and guided one of the NBA’s youngest rosters to a play-in game for the final spot in the 2020 Western Conference Playoffs at the NBA restart in Orlando. Jenkins, at age 35, was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for January 2020 after Memphis went 11-4 and established a singlemonth franchise record for scoring average (118.9). Three of the five highest-scoring months in club history were recorded during Jenkins’ first season as head coach.
Jenkins joined the Grizzlies after serving the 2018-19 season as an assistant coach under two-time NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer with the Milwaukee Bucks, helping guide the team to the NBA’s best regular season record (60-22), a trip to the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and the league’s highest-scoring offense (118.1 points per game). He was an assistant coach for Team Giannis in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
Before his time with the Bucks, Jenkins spent five seasons (2013-18) as an assistant coach under Budenholzer with the Atlanta Hawks, where he helped coach the team to four postseason appearances, including the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. He was an assistant coach for the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star Team.
Jenkins’ previous experience includes one season (2012-13) as head coach of the Austin Toros (now Spurs), the NBA G League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, where he led the team to the NBA G League Playoffs. Jenkins had spent four seasons (2008-12) as an assistant coach with the Toros, working under head coaches Quin Snyder and Brad Jones, and was a member of the club’s 2012 championship team and playoff runs in 2009 and 2010. He interned with San Antonio’s basketball operations department during the 2007-08 season.
Jenkins attended The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics while concentrating in Management and minoring in Psychology. He and his wife, Chantall, have three sons and one daughter.
College - Lambuth
Brad Jones begins his third season in the Memphis Grizzlies organization and his first as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins. Jones served as head coach of the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ NBA G League affiliate, during the 2018-19 season, leading the club to its first playoff appearance and victory during its run to the 2019 Western Conference Semifinal round.
Prior to joining the Grizzlies organization, Jones served as General Manager of the NBA G League’s Iowa Wolves and as a pro scout for the NBA parent club, the Minnesota Timberwolves, from 2016-18. Jones won an NBA G League championship in 2012 as head coach of the then Austin Toros (now Spurs) and also led the Utah Flash to the 2009 NBA G League Finals. In five combined seasons with the two teams (Utah, 2007-10; Austin, 2010-12), Jones compiled a 148-118 (.556) record, submitting a winning record for both teams and winning two Western Conference titles. Jones still owns Austin’s franchise record for wins in a regular season (33).
Jones’ experience also extends to the NBA coaching ranks, spending four seasons with the Utah Jazz (2012-16) where he worked his way from assistant coach for player development to Quin Snyder’s lead assistant coach for his final two seasons in Salt Lake City.
Jones began his coaching career in 1990 at his alma mater of Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee and served as the Eagles’ head coach from 1996-2001. As a senior at Lambuth, he was the captain of the basketball team and was named the school’s Male Athlete of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year. He earned his master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Memphis.
Jones and his wife Lori have three children: Justin, Isabella and Jackson.
College - Duke
David McClure begins his second season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins.
McClure joins the Grizzlies after spending three seasons (2016-19) under head coach Nate McMillan as an assistant coach leading the player development department for the Indiana Pacers, where he was a part of three straight playoff appearances in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He spent two previous seasons (2014-16) as a player development quality assurance assistant for the San Antonio Spurs, where he worked with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
A graduate of Duke University, the Connecticut native played five years (2004-09) for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and was a member of the Blue Devils’ ACC title teams in 2005, 2006 and 2009.
After leaving Duke, McClure played the 2009-10 season with the NBA G League’s Austin Toros (now Spurs) and was coached by Jenkins, who was an assistant in Austin under current Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. He also played professionally for four years (2010-14) in the Lithuanian Basketball League.
College - Wright State
Vitaly Potapenko enters his third season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach and his second with head coach Taylor Jenkins.
Before joining the Grizzlies prior to the 2018-19 season, Potapenko served five seasons (2013-18) as the assistant director of player development for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Prior to his time in Cleveland, Potapenko spent one season (2012-13) as an assistant coach with the NBA G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors, helping guide the team to its first G League Finals appearance. He also was as an assistant coach for the Dakota Wizards during the 2011-12 season before the franchise relocated to Santa Cruz.
Potapenko served an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers during the 2010-11 season after serving as an assistant coach for the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants in 2009-10.
Selected by Cleveland with the 12th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Potapenko appeared in 610 games (189 starts) with four teams and averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.0 minutes over 11 seasons (1996-2007).
Before playing in the NBA, Potapenko played for Budivelnyk (Ukraine) from 1992-1994 and finished his career playing for MMT Estudiantes in the Spanish ACB during the 2007-2008 season. Nicknamed “The Ukraine Train,” the Kiev native played two seasons collegiately at Wright State University where he was named All-Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
College - Ohio State
James “Scoonie” Penn enters his second season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach for head coach Taylor Jenkins following two seasons (2017-19) as director of player development at his alma mater of The Ohio State University.
Penn originally attended Boston College where he was named the 1995-96 Big East Rookie of the Year selected to the 1996-97 All-Big East First Team. He then transferred to Ohio State, where he was named the 1998-99 Big Ten Player of the Year and led the Buckeyes to the 1999 NCAA Final Four.
A two-time All-American and All-Big Ten selection while at Ohio State, Penn scored 1,076 points for the Buckeyes, and his 123 points scored in NCAA Tournament play rank seventh in program history.
Voted into The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, the Massachusetts native was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft and enjoyed an 11-year professional career in Europe.
College - Tufts
Sonia Raman enters her first season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins.
Raman comes to Memphis following 12 seasons (2008-20) as the head women’s basketball coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she led the Engineers to the program’s first two New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championships (2018, 2019) and the 2020 championship game. MIT enjoyed unprecedented success under Raman, whose tenure produced two NCAA Tournament berths and a 91-45 record (.669) over her final five seasons.
In September 2017, Raman was selected to serve a two-year term on the Coaches Council for the Alliance of Women Coaches, dedicated to leading the field of women coaches at all levels by providing support, resources, events and programs which address the needs and interests of its members.
Prior to her arrival in Cambridge, Raman served six seasons (2002-08) as the top assistant coach at Wellesley College, where she scouted opponents, assisted with practice and game planning, managed individual player skill and leadership development and served as the Blue’s primary recruiter.
Raman began her intercollegiate coaching career with a two-year stint as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Tufts University. A four-year player and a captain for the Jumbos, she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. Raman went on to receive a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School in 2001.
College - Alfa BK
Darko Rajakovic enters his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins.
Rajakovic joins the Grizzlies after spending the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach under head coach Monty Williams with the Phoenix Suns, where he helped guide the team to its highest winning percentage (.466) since the 2014-15 season and a perfect 8-0 record during the NBA restart at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Prior to his time in Phoenix, Rajakovic served seven seasons (2012-19) with the Oklahoma City Thunder, spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach. The Thunder averaged 49 wins during his five seasons as an assistant coach with four playoff appearances, including a trip to the 2016 Western Conference Finals. In addition, he served as the Thunder’s head coach at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in 2014 and 2015.
Rajakovic initially joined the Thunder in 2012 as head coach of the team’s then-NBA G League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, becoming the first head coach born outside North America in NBA G League history. In two seasons (2012-14) as Tulsa’s head coach, Rajakovic recorded a 51-49 record (.510) and a trip to the 2013 NBA G League semifinals. While serving as Tulsa’s head coach, he was included as one of the Thunder’s assistant coaches at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.
A native of Serbia, Rajakovic served as an assistant coach for Serbia’s national team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. Serbia finished fifth at the event, including a win over the United States in the classification round. His international coaching career also includes three seasons (2009-12) as head coach of Espacio Torrelodones in Spain, where he led the team to the championship of the Primera Division de Baloncesto in Madrid in his first season.
Rajakovic began his coaching career at 16 years old with the Borac Cacak Youth Team in his hometown of Cacak, Serbia. After three seasons (199699) with Borac Cacak, he was named the head coach of the U20 and U18 teams of Red Star Belgrade and led Red Star to two Serbian championships during his eight-year tenure (1999-2007). Rajakovic received a basketball coaching degree from the Belgrade Basketball Academy in 2004 and a degree in sports management from Alfa BK University in Belgrade in 2006.
College - Missouri State
Blake Ahearn enters his first full season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins after joining the team on June 20, 2020.
Ahearn previously served three seasons as head coach of the NBA G League’s Austin Spurs, where he guided the team to the 2018 NBA G League championship. Prior to his time in Austin, Ahearn served one season as head coach of his high school alma mater, De Smet Jesuit, and one season as head coach at Clayton High School, both in St. Louis.
Ahearn played professionally for eight seasons, including three in the NBA with the Miami Heat (2007-08), San Antonio Spurs (2008-09) and Utah Jazz (2011-12). During his time in the NBA G League, Ahearn was named the NBA G League Rookie of the Year (2008), a two-time NBA G League First Team selection (2009, 2012) and won the 2015 NBA G League championship as a member of the Santa Cruz Warriors. He also played professionally in Spain, Italy, China, Ukraine and Puerto Rico.
The St. Louis native played collegiately at Missouri State University (2003-07), where he was named the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and earned All-MVC First Team honors during his junior and senior seasons. Ahearn is the NCAA’s all-time leader in free throw percentage, connecting on 94.6 percent (435-of-460) of his shots from the foul line, and holds the single-season NCAA record, shooting 97.5 percent (117-of-120) as a freshman.