Jama to G League

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Raptors Assistant to Coach 905

The Raptors 905 have a new head coach, and it’s someone that the franchise is already familiar with.

Jama Mahlalela, a Toronto assistant coach since 2013-14, has been named as the latest head coach of their G League team.

“We are very excited to add Jama as our new head coach,” Raptors 905 general manager Dan Tolzman said in a statement. “After proving himself as an assistant on the Raptors staff, having an opportunity to run his own team is a major step in his development as a coach.”

Mahlalela, who replaces Jerry Stackhouse, has had an interesting path to where he is today.

Born in Swaziland, he played at UBC, before eventually being hired in 2006 as a member of the Raptors’ community development staff. From there the team named him director of player development in 2011, where he served until becoming an assistant in 2013.

Mahlalela also served as NBA Asia’s director of basketball operations, where he oversaw the league’s youth programs in Hong Kong.

“I think (the 905 players) can hopefully see a message and a journey that I have had that will inspire them as well,” Mahlalela said.”

Raptors 905 has already aided the development of Pascal Siakam and Delon Wright, who have become solid contributors at the NBA level. Mahlalela’s hire points the way to increased synergy between the big club and its emerging farm system.

“We’ve had really good conversations,” Mahlalela said on Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who recently replaced his former boss Dwane Casey. “I think that’s one of the most exciting parts for me is that we have such a good working relationship. I think there’s going to be a real lock-step between the Raptors team and the 905 team in terms of what we’re running offensively, how we’re guarding defensively, but also just our vision.

“There’ll be a connection between the coaching staffs that is exciting, and I think we’re maybe even going to bridge new territories in terms of the connectedness between our two teams.”

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