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Tibbetts Hopes To Strengthen Ties With T-Wolves

July 2, 2008, 9:59 PM by Jay Elsen

Tibbetts Hopes To Strengthen Ties With T-Wolves
When the Skyforce made Nate Tibbetts the youngest head coach in franchise history they knew exactly what they were getting. But when Tibbetts responded by guiding Sioux Falls to the doorstep of the D-League Finals, the team's secret was out.

When Nate Tibbetts attended May's NBA Pre-Draft camp in Orlando, he expected to see some top notch talent. What he didn't expect was to be sought out by the Timberwolves.

"Coach Wittman said asked me if I'd be interested in helping out, and I said would love it," Skyforce Head Coach Nate Tibbetts said.

A month later, Tibbetts was officially invited to serve as an assistant coach for Minnesota during the 2008 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

"We know he's not going to be the longest tenured coach in Skyforce history. He's a young guy. He has a bright future. He's going to be a great coach for a long time," Skyforce Vice-President and General Manager Jeremy DeCurtins said.

Tibbetts earned his stripes with a successful first year in Sioux Falls. But as he gets set for what he hopes is the first of many stints on an NBA bench, he knows he's still got plenty to prove.

"Unfortunately, I'm not a former NBA player. Most of those guys have a big up just because its a fraternity. And a lot of the D-League coaches have to battle that, because they don't know who we are. But when you get in front of them you have to do a good job. And hopefully you can get your name going in the right direction and be known as an up and comer. And I think you just can't demand that, you've got to earn it and work hard while you're there," Tibbetts said.

While it's a great career opportunity, it will also give Tibbetts the chance to interact with the T-Wolves young talent. And the Skyforce are hoping to reap the benefits of that for many years to come.

"We're trying to build a reputation where we can work well with the players and can develop them. And put them in a good situation where they improve, because ultimately the NBA guys coming down, they want to see them play. They want to see them practice and improve. And hopefully I can show that here during the time in Las Vegas," Tibbetts said.

"Having Nate coach with the Timberwolves. Having him work with their young guys. Its really a big step for us because now those guys that they would potentially send down are comfortable with him. Randy Wittman and the rest of the Timberwolves organization is comfortable with him. They know a bit more about him. It opens up the door, even that much more for them to send guys to us," DeCurtins said.

Tibbetts and the Timberwolves will play a five game schedule during the Summer League, which is scheduled to run from July 14 through the 20.

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