The Ukraine Train is coming back for an encore performance. Former Cavaliers center Vitaly Potapenko has been hired as an assistant coach on Mike Brown's staff. It was first reported by Yahoo! Sports. The 38-year-old Potapenko had been an assistant coach in the NBA Development League's Santa Cruz Warriors. He was also an assistant with the Indiana Pacers. He joins Phil Handy and Igor Kokoskov as assistants on Brown's staff. Potapenko is expected to fill the role of player-development coach. He was selected by the Cavs with the 12th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft — one pick before high school phenom Kobe Bryant. Bryant, a future Hall of Famer, was picked by Charlotte and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Potapenko, a native of Kiev, Ukraine, came to the Cavs in the same draft as Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Ilgauskas, now a member of the Cavs' front office, was the No. 20 overall pick in 1996. The 6-foot-10, 285-pound Potapenko played three seasons with the Cavs and averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in 177 games. He was dealt to Boston in 1999. He played 11 seasons in the NBA, also for Seattle and Sacramento. Potapenko played collegiately at Wright State.
Cavaliers hire Vitaly Potapenko as an assistant coach
The News-Herald | Jun 4