The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson

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The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#1 » by bwgood77 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:18 pm

Great read from Zach Lowe:

Brittni Donaldson was almost literally born into basketball in Iowa, but even she could never have imagined her improbable path to becoming the league's 10th current female assistant coach, and the youngest at just 26 years old. Donaldson spent the last two seasons as a data analyst -- i.e., advanced stats guru -- in the Raptors' front office before Masai Ujiri, Toronto's president and alternate governor, and Nick Nurse, the head coach, picked her in mid-July to fill an opening on Toronto's bench.............

.................One highlight: The Raptors were on the road when they acquired Marc Gasol at the trade deadline, but Gasol had to visit Toronto to undergo a physical. He asked whether someone might run him through a workout. The team thought about calling one coach back in. Higher-ups decided Donaldson could handle it herself. "That was special for me -- to be basically the first person he interacted with on the basketball side," she says.

Ujiri watched from his office and was impressed when Donaldson sat with Gasol after the workout, opened a laptop, and took him through some of Toronto's plays. "We were confident Brittni could do it," Ujiri says. "But when you see her do it, it's different." Nurse made it clear Donaldson will not be "the analytics person" on the coaching staff, though she will take the lead translating such data for players and coaches. She will do everything the other coaches do: scout opponents, debate rotations and X's and O's, and pitch strategic ideas.


There is a lot more... https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/27576018/the-unusual-path-new-raptors-assistant-coach-brittni-donaldson
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#2 » by Dominater » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:24 pm

Hope she gets a shot to be a head coach. It's cool to see these women starting to really break some barriers here
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#3 » by YogurtProducer » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:42 pm

That’s honestly awesome. I’ve long thought about breaking into the basketball world somehow, and she shows that it really is possible for people without meaningful professional basketball history to be impactful.

I hope she kills it
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#4 » by mastermixer » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:43 pm

When you’re working one of the most sought after specialized jobs in the world, I’m sure every path is “unlikely”

I just find it funny how her path was actually very straight forward. Always loved and was around basketball; “advanced stat guru” - the most sought after position in sports right now, to assistant coach. Seems to make sense to me...

But seriously, it’s pretty cool to not only see these women breaking barriers into the nba, but by all accounts all of them have earned these opportunities on merit and are contributing to their teams success.

You really have to credit Pop and the Spurs for breaking that barrier with Becky Hammond.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#5 » by clyde21 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:51 pm

damn she's only 26? she's younger than Buddy Hield as a rookie
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#6 » by KqWIN » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:00 pm

"Range" has me thinking about all the truly unusual paths we'll see into the NBA. Diverse thinkers and perspectives will be the new edge in the NBA.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#7 » by bwgood77 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:28 pm

Dominater wrote:Hope she gets a shot to be a head coach. It's cool to see these women starting to really break some barriers here


It would be interesting. From the article, she sounds very well respected, on and off the court.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#8 » by Pharenheit » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:31 pm

Good looking gal too. Wouldn't be shocked if Raptor players shoot their shot at her
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#9 » by Hindenburg » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:44 pm

How long does it usually take to become an assistant coach? It does seem very fast. She's only 26, been with a team for only 2 years as an analyst, no prior coaching experience. Masai and players like her, I am guessing they see something very promising in her.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#10 » by MrDollarBills » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:58 pm

Dominater wrote:Hope she gets a shot to be a head coach. It's cool to see these women starting to really break some barriers here


Yep. I love that this is happening.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#11 » by homecourtloss » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:03 pm

26 year old non-NBA player already an assistant coach? Seems unusual indeed.

Also, the language used seems more like a team fostering an ideas project rather than simply getting someone for the job.

Ujiri watched from his office and was impressed when Donaldson sat with Gasol after the workout, opened a laptop, and took him through some of Toronto's plays. "We were confident Brittni could do it," Ujiri says. "But when you see her do it, it's different." Nurse made it clear Donaldson will not be "the analytics person" on the coaching staff, though she will take the lead translating such data for players and coaches. She will do everything the other coaches do: scout opponents, debate rotations and X's and O's, and pitch strategic ideas.


Would anyone ever say, “We were confident Bob could do it, but when you see him do it, it’s different.”

Would anyone write “He will do everything other coaches do”?
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#12 » by yellowknifer » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:04 pm

Doesn't seem odd to me. Shes been living and breathing basketball for most of her life and is quite qualified.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#13 » by Kimiko » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:05 pm

Didn't realize how young she is. Good for her

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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#14 » by nikster » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:12 pm

mastermixer wrote:When you’re working one of the most sought after specialized jobs in the world, I’m sure every path is “unlikely”

I just find it funny how her path was actually very straight forward. Always loved and was around basketball; “advanced stat guru” - the most sought after position in sports right now, to assistant coach. Seems to make sense to me...

But seriously, it’s pretty cool to not only see these women breaking barriers into the nba, but by all accounts all of them have earned these opportunities on merit and are contributing to their teams success.

You really have to credit Pop and the Spurs for breaking that barrier with Becky Hammond.

I think her story is still very unlikely even relative to rest of league considering she’s only 10th female coach and is only 26
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#15 » by CoachD » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:17 pm

She's a straight up analytics super-ninja.

Having her on the bench with live data, and her nose in Synergy during the game can ONLY be a good thing for the Raps
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#16 » by Duffman100 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:23 pm

Feels like Sports teams are doing a better job identifying front office and bench talent faster than ever before.

26... wow. Makes me feel so lazy.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#17 » by ATLTimekeeper » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:27 pm

homecourtloss wrote:26 year old non-NBA player already an assistant coach? Seems unusual indeed.

Also, the language used seems more like a team fostering an ideas project rather than simply getting someone for the job.

Ujiri watched from his office and was impressed when Donaldson sat with Gasol after the workout, opened a laptop, and took him through some of Toronto's plays. "We were confident Brittni could do it," Ujiri says. "But when you see her do it, it's different." Nurse made it clear Donaldson will not be "the analytics person" on the coaching staff, though she will take the lead translating such data for players and coaches. She will do everything the other coaches do: scout opponents, debate rotations and X's and O's, and pitch strategic ideas.


Would anyone ever say, “We were confident Bob could do it, but when you see him do it, it’s different.”

Would anyone write “He will do everything other coaches do”?


Yes, it's very common for people to think, "we were confident he could do the task that was outside of his job description, but when we saw him actually do it he excelled. It made me think maybe Bob would be better suited to that other job in our company."

As for the second part, Nurse is describing her role on the coaching staff. That is completely normal. The Raptors have had "analytics guys" on the bench before, and that's the department she's coming from. It makes a lot of sense for him to explain to the public when asked that she'll be tasked with more than just that role. It also falls in line with his philosophy to cycle different responsibilities to his assistant coaches throughout the season, which is what he did last year.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#18 » by fianchetto » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:55 pm

Pharenheit wrote:Good looking gal too. Wouldn't be shocked if Raptor players shoot their shot at her


This is why it's so hard for women to get ahead. No respect for her accomplishments, just care about her appearance
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#19 » by Duffman100 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:35 pm

Pharenheit wrote:Good looking gal too. Wouldn't be shocked if Raptor players shoot their shot at her


Lame.
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Re: The unusual path of new Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson 

Post#20 » by ImSlower » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:00 pm

Great article! I have a friend from Sioux City, and asked her if she knew of her. She didn't, as she's about 15 years older, but knew the family name. I guess the two dads knew each other well. Love random sorta-connections like that.

I hope she does a stellar job. I loved that part about Gasol working with her.
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