The Greensboro Swarm announced Joe Wolf as the team’s new head coach today. Here is some information about the 53-year old for those who may not know him.
(On a side note, it’s interesting how the Hornets management has doubled down and chose two men who are way above the average height for both the organizations head coaching positions. James Borrego for the Hornets stands at 6’5, while Wolf stands at 6’11.)
Anyways, back to Wolf.
One of the growing trends of new basketball coaches is that of their past playing careers. Kenny Atkinson, Tyronn Lue, and Fred Hoiberg are all examples of NBA players who have transitioned into the head coaching world.
Wolf is no different. Having been a standout big man at Kohler High School, he was selected as the best high school player in Wisconsin state history.
He then spent the next four years at the UNC-Chapel Hill. He gradually developed his until his senior season, where he broke out in a big way, averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Tar Heels. That lead to an All-ACC First team as well as an All-ACC Tournament Team nomination.
This trend carried on to the NBA, where he was selected 13th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1987 draft.
Wolf was a journeyman in his long professional career. He would play for eight teams in ten seasons, including one overseas in Spain. He averaged a career of 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Among his many spots included a one year stint with the Charlotte Hornets during in the 1994-1995 season.
This is where the bulk of Wolfe’s resume comes from.
After one year of being an assistant coach for William & Mary University, Wolfe was hired into then poorly marketed D-League in 2004.
From there, he became the head coach of the formally named Idaho Stampede (now Salt Lake City Stars), and the Colorado 14ers (now Texas Legends).
As coach of the 14ers, he managed to reach the D-League title game, only to lose to the Dakota Wizards in the 2006-2007 season.
His final destination, for which some of you know, has been as an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, about a four-hour drive from Charlotte.
What he can bring to Greensboro
The playing experience is an intricate part in Wolf’s schematics and how he handles business on the court.
Having been on the same position as his players, Wolf creates a bond between player and coach that isn’t seen as often as it should.
In terms of schematics, it looks to me like Wolf’s playing style will mesh well with James Borrego’s in Charlotte.
In fact, in today’s press conference meeting, Borrego said that he and new Hornets GM Mitch Kupchack will be “heavily involved” in everything to do with the Greensboro Swarm moving forward.
With a system of constant motion topped with a lot of off-ball screens and unselfish passing, it looks like Swarm will be shooting a lot more 3-pointers than the previous two seasons.
This helps not only the players that could potentially being called to Charlotte from Greensboro, as they would know the system of offense, but it also helps with the personnel choices in general between the two clubs.
As tryouts for the NBA G-League are still underway, expect the Swarm to sign young and athletic players who are both versatile on the defensive while also being an option from range on offense.
That’s why Hornets new two-way contract player J.P. Macura will be a good fit under Wolf. Macura has been known to be both an excellent facilitator and deep range shooter, so expect him to thrive this season in the Swarm offense.
With all that said, it looks like management made a good choice in hiring Wolf. His experience along with a modern style of play looks like the Hornets organization as a whole are heading in the right direction.