The Oklahoma City Thunder has named Darko Rajakovic as assistant coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Rajakovic has spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder’s NBA D-League affiliate.
“Darko’s diverse basketball background, knowledge of the game and ability to develop players at a high level were clearly apparent during his time in Tulsa, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to add him to our staff,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks. “His understanding of the core tenants of what we do, thanks to his time in Tulsa, will maintain a level of consistency that we value and his various head coaching experiences internationally will provide another layer to our coaches.”
A Serbian native, Rajakovic was the first head coach in NBA D-League history born outside of North America. Rajakovic led Tulsa to a combined 51-49 record over two seasons, including a 27-23 record and NBA D-League Semifinals appearance in 2012-13.
During his time with the 66ers, Tulsa was assigned seven players from Oklahoma City a total of 50 times (the most in the league during that stretch), including current Thunder players Reggie Jackson, Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Roberson. Rajakovic has also seen five of his 66ers players receive call-ups to the NBA, including four to the Thunder (Grant Jerrett, Daniel Orton, Mustafa Shakur and Reggie Williams). He coached 11 Tulsa players over the past two years who were on an NBA roster in the 2013-14 season.
Prior to joining the 66ers, Rajakovic spent the previous three years as the head coach of Espacio Torrelodones of the Spanish EBA League. In his first season (2009), Rajakovic led Torrelodones to the Primera Division de Baloncesto title, promoting the team to the Liga EBA.
Rajakovic began his coaching career at 16 years old with BC Borac Cacak in Cacak, Serbia. Following his three-year stint in Cacak, Rajakovic was named the head coach of the U-20 and U-18 teams of Red Star Belgrade. During his eight years in Belgrade, Rajakovic led Red Star to two Serbian championships. Rajakovic received a basketball coaching degree from the Belgrade Basketball Academy in 2004 and a degree in sports management from BK University in Belgrade in 2006.