From Kiev to Bismarck: Vitaly Potapenko's Coaching Career

Please bring back these jerseys.

Saturday night my hometown Dakota Wizards had a fan appreciation night in their D-League game against the Iowa Energy. Everybody could get a general admission ticket for free. Being as I was home for the weekend and hadn't been to a Wizards game in years because of their high tickets prices I decided to head out to the game to watch some hoops and relax at the Bismarck Civic Center.

Sometime during the second quarter I was looking at the Wizards roster and realized that their lead assistant coach was none other than the Cavaliers 1996 first round pick, Vitaly Potapenko.

Potapenko was hired by the Dakota Wizards in September after a stint with the Indiana Pacers last winter. He helped both Jim O'Brien and Frank Vogel guide the Pacers to a playoff berth where they ultimately lost to the Chicago Bulls.

With recent news that Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been hired by the Cavaliers lately it was great to see another former Cavalier big man doing well in a post-playing basketball profession.

"The Ukraine Train" played over two seasons with the Cavaliers primarily as a reserve before spending time with three other NBA franchises.The 6'10 Kiev native suited up for 177 games for the Cavaliers and made the only trey of his career with the team.

His other previous coaching experience in the D-League came with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Potapenko wrapped up his NBA career after the 2006-2007 season. He played in 610 career games and averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in his career.

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