The Memphis Grizzlies today announced that the organization has hired Elston Turner, Duane Ticknor and Shawn Respert as assistant coaches to join returning assistant coach Bob Thornton on Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger’s staff.
Additionally, the Grizzlies have hired Chattin Hill as athletic performance coach, promoted Jason March to advance scout, promoted Steve Jones to video coordinator/player development and hired Mark Sanford as assistant video coordinator/player development.
Known in league circles for coaching defense on offensively-minded ball clubs, Turner joins the Grizzlies as the lead assistant with 17 seasons of experience as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns (2011-13), Houston Rockets (2007-11), Sacramento Kings (2000-06) and Portland Trail Blazers (1996-00).
Turner served as the lead assistant for Phoenix after spending six seasons in the same role in Houston under current Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. He also worked under Adelman in Sacramento, where he was a part of two Western Conference All-Star coaching staffs (2001, 2003), and Portland.
Turner’s career coaching responsibilities have included handling the team’s game plan, individual skill work with players and advance scouting. He also served as the Rockets’ summer league head coach. His coaching career began in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) as an assistant coach for the Quad City Thunder and as a player/coach for the Chicago Rockers.
Drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round (43rd overall) of the 1981 NBA Draft, Turner played eight seasons in the NBA with the Mavericks (1981-84), Denver Nuggets (1984-86, 1988-89) and Chicago Bulls (1986-88) and spent five seasons in the CBA. He played three more years in Spain, Italy and Greece following his NBA career.
The Knoxville, Tenn. native played four seasons at Ole Miss, where as a senior he teamed with current Grizzlies TV analyst Sean Tuohy to lead the Rebels to the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1981. The university honored Turner’s collegiate accomplishments by inducting him into the Ole Miss M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
A veteran on the minor league coaching circuit, Ticknor will rejoin Joerger on the sidelines after the latter worked as the former’s assistant for one season (1999-00) with the International Basketball Association’s (IBA) Dakota Wizards.
Ticknor spent last season as head coach of the NBA Development League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, leading the club to a 27-23 record (.540) and an appearance in the 2013 D-League Playoffs.
Before his stint in Fort Wayne, Ticknor served two seasons as an assistant coach with the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce (2009-11), two more as head coach of the Dakota Wizards (2007-09) and one season in Korea (2011-12). He also spent time in the CBA as head coach of the Gary Steelheads (2002-05) and as an assistant for the Rapid City Thrillers (1989-92) and the IBA as head coach of the Black Hills Posse (1995-99), Dakota Wizards (1999-00) and Siouxland Bombers (2000-01).
A four-time IBA Coach of the Year (1996-98, 2000), the Vermillion, S.D. native led his teams to the IBA Finals three times and won the 1997 IBA Championship while helming Black Hills.
Thornton returns for a third season on the Grizzlies sidelines after joining the organization prior to the 2011-12 season. Before joining the Grizzlies, Thornton spent the previous four seasons (2007-11) as the advance scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Los Angeles native has experience as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls (2002-04) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2005-07) and served as the head coach for the CBA’s Quad City Thunder (2000-01) and the D-League’s Huntsville Flight (2001-02).
Drafted by the New York Knicks in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1984 NBA Draft, Thornton played professionally for 11 years, including eight NBA seasons with the Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Washington Bullets. He also played in Spain, Italy and the CBA.
Respert comes to Memphis after serving the previous two seasons (2011-13) as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves and three seasons (2008-11) as director of player development for the Houston Rockets. He also served two years (2007-08) as director of player development in the D-League offices in New York and two-and-a-half years (2005-07) as director of basketball operations at Rice University.
Named the 1995 NCAA Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as a senior at Michigan State, Respert was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1995 NBA Draft. After his draft rights were traded to Milwaukee, Respert played four NBA seasons (1995-99) with the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns before finishing his professional career playing in Italy, Greece and Poland.
The Detroit native was inducted into the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 20, 2012.
Hill joins the Grizzlies as athletic performance coach after recently serving six seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for the Atlanta Hawks. He is responsible for the development and implementation of strength, conditioning and nutritional programs for the Grizzlies roster. The Washington State native also served one season as the assistant strength coach for the Seattle SuperSonics, two years as the head strength coach of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and worked in a similar capacity at the University of Washington, where he focused his efforts primarily on the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Entering his seventh season with the organization, March now will serve as advance scout after spending last season as director of basketball information and technologies. Before joining the Grizzlies, he spent two seasons as the assistant video coordinator for the Phoenix Suns, where he was part of the team that advanced to the 2006 Western Conference Finals. A graduate of Florida State University, the Frostproof, Fla. native also spent two seasons as the video coordinator for the Phoenix Mercury, who won the 2007 WNBA championship.
Entering his third season with the club, Jones will take over the role of video coordinator/player development after working two seasons under March as basketball information and technologies associate. Jones, who played collegiately for UNLV and Arizona State University, will prepare scouting videos and game plans for upcoming opponents for the coaching staff. The Portland, Ore. native also will assemble a library of game action clips in preparation of the annual NBA Draft.
Sanford enters his first season with the Grizzlies as assistant video coordinator/player development after spending four years at Northwood University, where he served two years as an assistant to the men’s basketball team and his final two years as head coach of the women’s team. Drafted by the Heat in the second round (31st overall) of the 1997 NBA Draft, Sanford enjoyed an 11-year professional career that included NBA stints with Miami, Sacramento and New Jersey, appearances in the CBA and ABA, and international stints in Belgium, France, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Japan, Israel, Venezuela, Spain, the Philippines, Australia, Lebanon, South Korea and Chile. The Dallas native earned First Team All-Pac 10 honors twice at the University of Washington and declared for the NBA Draft following his junior season.