Grounding at Sheffield Sharks helped Chris Finch land Minnesota Timberwolves job

The promotion of a former Sheffield Sharks head coach to a top job in the NBA reflects well on the hard-working ethos of the British Basketball League.

Head coach Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves gives instructions to his team during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 24, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Picture: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

That is the verdict of Sarah Backovic, the general manager of the Sheffield Sharks following the news this week that Chris Finch has been named as the head coach of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Finch was a player with the Sharks in the mid-90s when he was invited by the club at the tender age of 27 to become their head coach. He enjoyed a successful seven years in charge before moving to Europe and then into the NBA from where he worked his way up to take one of just the 30 top jobs on offer in the sport’s premier competition.

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Finch even referenced his time in Sheffield in his first press conference as Timberwolves head coach.

BBL Championship Final, Wembley Arena, Sheffield Sharks v Chester Jets. April 27, 2002. Sharks Coach Chris Finch and his team watch as the Chester Jets recieve the winners cup.

“We were all contemptories back then,” said Backovic. “We were all in at the deep end and it was very much a raw beginning for Chris.

“That experience in the BBL shaped his whole way of coaching, his ability to go from game to game, from competition to competition. One competition ends and you don’t have time to dwell on it you’re onto the next.

“It was constant, having to be prepared. In those days you didn’t have the technology you have now so you were in the car, driving round the country scouting opposition.

“It was a full-on training ground, and the diverse nature of what they had to do back then is paying dividends now. It trained them to be hard-working scholars of the game. They really had to know their stuff to be successful.”

Chris Finch also led Team GB at London 2021. (Picture: Mansoor Ahmed/Mansoor Ahmed Photography).

Sharks beat Manchester Giants81-80 last night in the BBL. They welcome London Lions to Ponds Forge tomorrow (3pm).

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