Add another link in the North Carolina-Charlotte Hornets chain: Former Tar Heels big man Joe Wolf has been hired as coach of the Hornets’ G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm.
Wolf played with Hornets owner Michael Jordan and assistant general manager Buzz Peterson during Wolf’s freshman season (1983-84) in Chapel Hill. Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak is also a former Tar Heel.
Wolf said Peterson approached him about the opening after the Hornets chose not to renew the contract of the Swarm’s previous coach, Noel Gillespie, after last season.
Wolf, 53, played 11 seasons in the NBA including two stints with the original Hornets (64 games in 1994 through 1995 and three games in 1998-99). He has been an assistant coach in the NBA (Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets) and spent last season as a college assistant at UNC Wilmington.
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Wolf has prior experience as a G-League head coach in Colorado in 2006-08. This job is as much about sculpting young players’ transition to the pros as wins and losses.
“The biggest thing is we’re trying to develop professionalism: On-court with the development of skills on offense and defense, and also altering personalities to true professionals. It’s not just basketball,” said Wolf.
The other priority for the Swarm coach is replicating the offensive and defensive schemes new Hornets coach James Borrego will use. That’s why it was important Wolf was hired in time for the run-up to Hornets training camp in Chapel Hill at the end of the month.
“I’ll be there the next three or four weeks for staff meetings, training camp and the preseason,” to absorb Borrego’s systems and terminology, Wolf said.
Among those Wolf will coach: Former Xavier guard J.P. Macura, who signed a two-way contract with the Hornets after going unselected in June’s draft. Two-way contracts are designed for developmental players who will likely spend most of their rookie seasons with that NBA team’s G-League affiliate.