With past ties to the NBA, men’s head basketball coach for Central Wyoming College, Pat Rafferty is finding himself back into the NBA realm as an assistant coach for the Long Island Nets. Rafferty, who has been CWC’s head coach for the past three seasons will start his new venture in September, where he will coach the Brooklyn Nests’ Developmental league. Rafferty explained that the D League is the equivalent to a minor league baseball team and within two years all NBA teams will have a D League.
“This is their first year having a D league,” Rafferty said. “I’ll be preparing the young guys for the big team.”
Rafferty has more than 35 years of experience coaching and has past experience in the NBA working as a scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has coached and worked many levels of the game; mostly at the collegiate level.
“This will be purely basketball. This is the business of basketball,” Rafferty said. “When you work at the collegiate level you wear many hats; it’s not just basketball, you are recruiting, helping students earn their degrees and helping them transition to a four year college. With this job I’ll be developing the players to help them transition into the big level.”
It was Sacramento King’s assistant coach Bryan Gates and longtime friend of Rafferty’s who ultimately informed Trajan Langdon, assistant general manager for the Nets, about Rafferty’s interest in going back to the NBA. While on a recruiting trip in Las Vegas, Rafferty received the phone call which led to a quick flight to New York to meet Langdon.
“We talked throughout the next few days,” Rafferty said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen but it all came together. I was really impressed with the people there. They have a whole new front office and I will work with some talented people. This is a terrific opportunity.”
Rafferty will be working alongside with D league head coach Ronald Nored.
“He’s a really dynamic guy and I hope to bring my experience with things I’ve learned to this team,” he said. “I will be working with the guys in the neighborhood who will be the best players in the world and their abilities will be great but that’s all in relativity in with who they are playing against. I’ve experienced successes and failures and will continue to learn from those to help others grow and me as well.”
Rafferty said his experience at CWC was a true blessing and he has valued and appreciated his time with the Rustlers but he couldn’t pass up a great opportunity like this.
“This is a great opportunity and without CWC this wouldn’t have come along for me,” Rafferty said. “There’s a part of me that’s excited and a part of me that’s sad to leave friends and working with some really good kids. I’m leaving behind some exciting things that I feel are going to happen this year in basketball and golf.”
This Buffalo, Wyoming native will be living in the largest city in the United States. New York is a whole different city there’s nothing like it, he said.