ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship) - Turkey have brought in former NBA All-Star Rolando Blackman as an assistant coach for the FIBA World Championship.
Blackman, a four-time All-Star during his playing career with the Dallas Mavericks, played for Turkey head coach Bogdan Tanjevic towards the end of his career, winning an Italian title with Stefanel Milano in 1996.
He has international coaching experience after serving as an assistant coach for Germany at the 2002 FIBA World Championship. He is currently the director of basketball development for the Mavericks.
"Rolando has come here to help us for the FIBA World Championship," Tanjevic said. "I've invited him. He was a great player, he has a great personality and will help our players. His ideas in the field, what to do in defense and attack, are very impressive. Blackman can be very important for us."
Blackman said he was excited to be on board.
"Turkey is really a basketball country," he said. "They have a huge opportunity to win here. It is important for the team to try to enable the players to achieve that goal."
Blackman said his relationship with Tanjevic was key to him accepting the role.
"Together we won the Italian league title. My reason for being here is Tanjevic," he said. "I am very happy to work with him. He is a great coach.
Knowledge of the game of basketball is everything, and Tanjevic knows the most."
Turkey are preparing for the Istanbul Cup this weekend which will also feature Iran, Serbia and New Zealand, and Blackman is looking forward to seeing the players in action.
"The Istanbul Cup will give us a chance to see where we are," he said. "The team is ready to win the tournament. Everyone is taking responsibility for each other and giving each other support."