Two days after hiring Sonia Raman to replace Niele Ivey on Taylor Jenkins coaching staff, the Memphis Grizzlies have hired Darko Rajakovic to replace Neve Spahija. Spahija will head overseas for a coaching opportunity.
Rajakovic, 41 years of age, according to Grizzlies PR and the press release from the GrizLies has been coaching for 25 years of his life. Rajakovic started his coaching career in Serbia when he was 16 years old. From 2004-2011, Rajakovic spent time as a scout with the San Antonio Spurs under future Hall of Fame Coach Greg Popvich.
In 2012, Darko became the first Head Coach in the G-League to be born outside of North America as he took over the Oklahoma City Thunder G-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers for two seasons. In the two seasons he was head coach, Rajakovic coached guys like Reggie Jackson, Andre Robertson, and following his two seasons, 11 of the guys that he coached where on NBA rosters the following year.
In 2014 until 2019, Rajakovic took a higher position with the Oklahoma City Thunder as their Assistant Coach, where he helped develop key guys for the Thunder. Victor Oladipo, Steven Adams, Terrance Ferguson, and Dennis Schroder to name a few.
Then, following the 2019 season, Darko traveled to Phoenix to join Monty Williams and the Suns coaching staff as an assistant. Now, Rajakovic joins the Memphis Grizzlies young for the 2021 season.
“We are so excited to be welcoming Darko to the Memphis Grizzlies,” Head Coach Taylor Jenkins talked about the hiring via Grizzlies PR. “He has shown a passion, drive, high basketball IQ, and love for teaching the game of basketball at a high level internationally and in the NBA. His addition to our great coaching staff will continue to enhance the development of our players, staff and team for the future.”