By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
USA Basketball named former NBA head coach Mike Fratello as USA’s head coach for the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers. Andy Greer and Othella Harrington will be his assistants.
Fratello holds previous experience at the international level with Ukraine between 2011 and 2014. From 1984 to 2006 made it to the playoffs 11 times in 15 full-season attempts with various NBA teams.
In 2017, Jeff Van Gundy was the head coach as USA captured the FIBA AmeriCup title. The 57-year-old American went on to lead his country’s national team to the 2019 FIBA World Cup with a squad with players from G League.
Per USA Basketball: “Former NBA head coach Mike Fratello today was announced by USA Basketball as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team that will compete in the February 2020 FIBA AmeriCup qualifying games. Additionally, longtime NBA and college assistant coach Andy Greer and former NBA and USA Basketball athlete Othella Harrington were named as USA assistant coaches.
FIBA AmeriCup qualifying will consist of three windows, and each window will feature two games. The first window is Feb. 20-24, 2020. The USA will open play at Puerto Rico on Feb. 20, then play a rematch versus Puerto Rico on Feb. 23 in the U.S. (site TBA).
“It is a major coup for USA Basketball to have such an experienced and successful coach agree to undertake the coaching responsibility for the February 2020 USA AmeriCup Qualifying Team,” said USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley. “The new AmeriCup qualifying process will be challenging, and USA Basketball is looking to build on the successes of our 2017 gold medalist AmeriCup team and the World Cup qualifying teams. Having a respected and an internationally experienced coach such as Mike Fratello on our bench is a big plus. USA Basketball is also fortunate and appreciative of having the continued commitment of assistant coaches Andy Greer and Othella Harrington.”
The 2020-21 FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers will feature 16 teams from the Americas zone divided into four groups of four teams. The top three finishing teams in each Group will earn a qualifying berth in the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 (site and dates TBA).
The official draw for the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers was held on July 22, and the USA was drawn into Group D with Bahamas, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Group A consists of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela; Group B includes Brazil, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay; while Group C features Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands.
After February games, the next two windows of AmeriCup qualifying play are Nov. 26-30, 2020, and Feb. 18-22, 2021.
The USA in window two will host the Bahamas on Nov. 27 (site TBA) and Mexico on Nov. 30 (site TBA). And, the Americans will close out AmeriCup qualifying play in window three, playing at the Bahamas on Feb. 18 and at Mexico on Feb. 21.
Players selected to represent the USA in the FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers are expected to primarily be from the NBA G League.
“It was quite an honor,” said Fratello of his being asked to coach the red, white and blue. “We were fortunate to come up with Andy (Greer) and Othella (Harrington) for our staff. We’ve all had experience in the international game and we really cover all the different levels, including the NBA game and the international game.
“A few years back, Sasha Volkov, who was president of the Ukraine basketball national team and had played for me in Atlanta, called and asked if I would coach their national team. I thought it would be a great opportunity, I had never coached in Europe before. I did it for four summers, for the (2011) Euro Championship, the next year the qualifying for the next year’s Euro Championship, then a second Euro Championship, which we then qualified in that one for the (2014 FIBA) World Cup, which was the first time that the country had qualified for the World Cup. It was a great little run we had working with those guys.
“This is one of the ultimate things you could ever ask for – being able to try and put a team together that represents your country, what could be better than that?” continued Fratello. “I’ve coached at every level really – high school, college, NBA, and then international, and now it’s international for your own country which is as good as it gets. It’s a great honor and I’m thrilled to have it.”
Fratello, who currently is an analyst for NBA TV and for nationally televised games on TNT, served as an NBA head coach during 17 seasons, including coaching stints with the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies.
Boasting of an NBA career regular season record of 667-548 for a .549 winning percentage, he led teams to the NBA playoffs in 11 of his 15 full seasons as a head coach. He ranks 20th in all-time NBA regular season wins (667) and 21st in games coached (1,215).
Fratello’s first NBA head coaching assignment came during the final three games of the 1980-81 season, after he was named interim head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
Two years later, after serving two seasons as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks, Fratello returned to Atlanta as the head coach. In seven seasons, (1983-84 through 1989-90) he compiled a 324–250 record (.564 winning percentage), made the NBA playoffs five times and won the Central Division title in 1987 with 57 wins.
Fratello earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1985–86 after leading Atlanta to a 50-32 record and the conference semifinals.
He coached the Cleveland Cavaliers for six seasons (1993-94 through 1998-99) and compiled an overall regular season record of 248-212 (.539 winning percentage).
He directed the Cavaliers to the NBA playoffs four times.
Fratello was head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies from December 2004 to December 2006 and led teams to two NBA playoffs and a 95-83 (.534 winning percentage) regular season record.
He also served as the Ukraine national team head coach from 2011-14 and led Ukraine to their first-ever FIBA World Cup appearance. Fratello coached Ukraine in the 2011 FIBA European Championship, the 2012 EuroBasket Qualification Tournament and successfully clinched Ukraine a spot in the 2013 EuroBasket in Slovenia. He made history when he led Ukraine to a 6-5 record and sixth place finish in the 2013 FIBA European Championship to qualify Ukraine for the 2014 FIBA World Cup for the first time. Recording wins over Dominican Republic and Turkey, Ukraine finished the World Cup with a 2-3 record and in 18th place. Fratello’s Ukraine team closed preliminary-round play facing the USA and suffered a 95-71 setback.
His coaching resume also includes stints as an assistant basketball coach at the University of Rhode Island, James Madison University and Villanova University.
“I am excited to be part of USA basketball again and work with Coach Fratello, Coach Harrington, and the rest of our staff and talented players in the February 2020 AmeriCup qualifying leg,” said Greer. “It will be a great challenge to compete against Puerto Rico and I am looking forward to it.”
A longtime NBA assistant and college coach, Greer joins Fratello’s USA coaching staff after most recently serving as a scout for Gregg Popovich and the 2019 USA World Cup Team.
Greer spent three seasons as an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves (2016-18), one season (2015-16) as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors and five seasons (2010-15) as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls. During his time in Chicago, the club posted a .647 (255-139) regular-season winning percentage and ranked in the top 10 each season for opponent scoring average and opponent field goal percentage.
Before joining the NBA, Greer coached at the collegiate level for nearly two decades. He spent four years (1997-2001) at Northern Illinois University, where he logged three-and-a-half seasons as an assistant coach and a half-season as the team’s interim head coach, and he was head coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy for four years (1993-97). Greer also coached collegiately at Mansfield University (1985-87), Brandeis University (1987-89), Boston University (1989-90) and the University of Southern California (1990-93). He received his first coaching job as an assistant coach at Genesee Community College in 1983.
“I’m very honored to be asked again to be participate in USA Basketball and represent USA Basketball and USA. I’m just super excited,” said Harrington. “The last window (of World Cup qualifying) was great working with Jeff (Van Gundy), coach Thompson and Mark Fox, and I’m excited to be here again and being able to work with Mike Fratello, who is a legend in his own right for all he’s done in the NBA. I’m looking forward to learning from him as much as I can and also Andy Greer, who I had the chance to work with a little bit in New York when we were with Jeff, so its kid of a reunion for us a little bit.”
Harrington joins Fratello’s USA staff after most recently serving as the team scout for Jeff Van Gundy and the USA World Cup Qualifying teams during their November/December 2018 and February 2019 competition windows. He helped the USA compile a 3-1 record during the two stints, as well as earn a qualifying berth into the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Harrington was part of the men’s basketball staff at his alma mater, Georgetown University, serving four seasons (2011-15) as the Hoyas’ director of basketball operations.
Harrington was a four-year starter at Georgetown from 1992-96 and ranks as Georgetown’s all-time leader in offensive rebounds (393), fifth in all-time scoring with 1,839 points, fifth in career blocked shots with 201 rejections and fourth on the rebound leader list with 983 boards.
The power forward was a member of three USA Basketball teams, winning gold at the 1995 World University Games and 1993 FIBA U21 World Championship, while claiming a silver medal at the 1993 FIBA Americas U20 Championship.
Selected 30th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, Harrington played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, Vancouver Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Bobcats. He played in 7,089 regular season games and compiled 5,212 points (7.4 ppg.) and 3,130 rebounds (4.4 rpg.).”
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