The Texas Legends have announced three new additions to the coaching staff finalizing Nick Van Exel’s bench. Van Exel will be returning to the Legends in his new role as Head Coach and bringing back Player Development coaches DeSagana Diop, now serving as Assistant Coach, and Richard Griffin. Walter Pitts will serve as Lead Assistant alongside former Atlanta Hawk Donnie Boyce. Raphael Smith will join Griffin in Player Development.
Walter Pitts spent last season as an assistant coach for the University of North Carolina-Greensboro women’s basketball team. Prior to that, Pitts served as an assistant for the men’s program at Texas Southern University for four seasons during which time the team won the 2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament and made their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Pitts was named Most Valuable Player for the State of Alabama three consecutive years in high school and finished his collegiate career at the University of Alabama making an appearance at the NCAA Tournament and receiving the Guy Lee Turner Defensive award both seasons. Pitts’ resume and work ethic will make him an invaluable asset to the coaching staff.
Donnie Boyce comes to the Legends from his alma mater Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois where he began his coaching career with a 61-6 record and led the team to the state semi-finals and finals in his first two seasons. Boyce spent his collegiate years playing for the University of Colorado, becoming the all-time leading scorer in 1995. The Atlanta Hawks drafted Boyce in the second round and he spent two seasons with the team prior to a nine-year professional career overseas.
Raphael Smith has spent the past several years as a youth coach in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Smith’s focus on player development both on and off the court make him a perfect match for Van Exel’s staff. Smith will work alongside Richard Griffin whose knowledge of the league will complement Smith’s background as the two focus on individual player development.
“Our staff is excited about the season and ready to get to work” Van Exel said. “The coaches I’ve brought in have diverse backgrounds but find common ground in the sport of basketball each from their own arena. At this point we’ve found that everybody has different strengths and it will be a well-rounded bench to support our players.”
The Legends will open their season with road games in Austin November 13 and Oklahoma City November 15 before hosting Austin in their home opener November 20.
Legends Basketball Operations Staff
President of Basketball Operations: Spud Webb
Vice President: Del Harris
Head Coach: Nick Van Exel
Assistant General Manager: Travis Blakeley
Assistant Coach: Walter Pitts
Assistant Coach: Donnie Boyce
Assistant Coach: DeSagana Diop
Player Development: Raphael Smith
Player Development: Richard Griffin
Director of Scouting and Analytics: Matt Morales
Director of Player Programs: Byron Bogar
President: Malcolm Farmer