Ime Udoka won’t be walking into a room of entirely new faces when he eventually joins the Boston Celtics.
The C’s on Wednesday reportedly hired Udoka as their new head coach. In addition to nearly a decade of NBA coaching experience, Udoka two years ago worked with three of the longest-tenured Celtics — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart — at the FIBA World Championships.
Udoka also has history with Al Horford, who returned to Boston last week via the Kemba Walker trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. After seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Udoka served on the 76ers’ coaching staff for the 2019-20 campaign, Horford’s first and only in Philadelphia.
In his first media availability since returning to the Celtics, Horford spoke highly of his new head coach.
“Yeah, Ime is a great guy. Him and I had a really good relationship,” Horford told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “He was always very professional. His views on the game — defensively, him and I spent a lot of time talking about defense and coverages and things that I felt like worked, he feels that worked and things like that. So, I’m excited about him. I’m excited for what he brings and how he can help our group. So, I’m just looking forward to obviously supporting him and getting this thing going.”
The best teams in Celtics franchise history prided themselves on playing great defense. Judging from Horford’s sentiment, it sounds like Udoka won’t tolerate anything less than 100 percent from his team on both ends of the floor.