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What Gregg Popovich and Ime Udoka said about the Utah Jazz’s hire of Will Hardy

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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich talks to assistant coaches Becky Hammon and Will Hardy.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, right, talks to assistant coaches Becky Hammon, center, and Will Hardy during an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in San Antonio. Hardy was just named head coach of the Utah Jazz.

Darren Abate, Associated Press

Soon after the Utah Jazz made the hire of Will Hardy as their next head coach official on Wednesday, statements were released from the two NBA head coaches he has worked under in his career as an assistant coach, with both offering praise and an optimistic outlook for his success.

The first came from legendary San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and the second came came from Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka.

The 34-year-old Hardy was with the Spurs organization from 2010-2021 before joining the Celtics last summer when Udoka was hired as their head coach.

Hardy rose from intern to become one of Popovich’s top assistants in San Antonio, and then he was Udoka’s top assistant in Boston last season as the Celtics made it to the NBA Finals.

Both statements were released by the Jazz on social media.

“I couldn’t be happier that Will has been given the opportunity to lead one of the finest programs in the league in the Utah Jazz,” Popovich’s statement read.

“His intelligence, ability to teach, and most importantly his manner, brings immediate respect from players, management, and staff. He’s a competitive young man who understands the responsibilities of the position and no one will work harder to continue the success the Jazz have enjoyed for so long.”

Udoka’s statement read: “Will has a great basketball mind. I’ve watched his growth from our time together in San Antonio and throughout our season in Boston.

“He was an integral part of what we accomplished and will do great things in Utah.”