Celtics

Jayson Tatum: 'I can easily relate' to Ime Udoka

Celtics

During the Boston Celtics' search for a new head coach last month, they made sure to consult Jayson Tatum and other stars on the team before making a decision.

The result was the hiring of Ime Udoka as Brad Stevens' replacement.

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Tatum recently opened up about all of the Celtics' offseason changes, including on the coaching staff and in the front office. The 23-year-old forward said he liked all of Boston's head coaching candidates and the team "couldn't go wrong" with any of them.

He spoke more about his feelings on the Udoka hire in a recent conversation with The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn.

“I think it was big,” Tatum said. “I think all of the candidates and finalists would have been great decisions. Extremely happy about Ime. I’ve known him for a little while. He’s extremely motivated and I think everybody has a good feeling about this. I think this is going to be great.”

Udoka was an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup with Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart each on the roster. The 43-year-old is on Gregg Popovich's staff again with Tatum as one of Team USA's stars at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

For Tatum, Udoka checks all the boxes.

“I can easily relate to sometime like [Ime] in different areas, someone of color, someone who played in the league,” Tatum said. “Someone closer in age. The conversations are naturally going to be different. That doesn’t make it better or worse, just different.”

 

Sounds like Tatum is looking forward to a fresh start in 2021-22.

Tatum, Udoka and Team USA will begin play in Tokyo on July 25 vs. France, followed by Iran on July 28 and the Czech Republic on July 31.