Joe Prunty Named Head Coach of February 2021 USA Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team
Othella Harrington and James Jones Selected Assistant Coaches, USA to Play Bahamas on Feb. 19 and Mexico on Feb. 20
Former NBA coach Joe Prunty will serve as head coach of the February 2021 USA AmeriCup Qualifying Team, and assisting Prunty on the U.S. bench will be experienced USA Basketball coaches Othella Harrington and Yale University head coach James Jones.
The USA will train Feb. 13-18 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and participate in the third and final competition window of the 2020-21 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying games. The 4-0 Americans will wrap up their qualifying play facing Bahamas (1-3) on Feb. 19 and Mexico (2-2) on Feb. 20. Both games will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“This is a tremendous honor and an exciting opportunity,” said Prunty. “It means a lot to me be a part of USA Basketball and represent our country. I’m looking forward to working with Sean Ford (USA Basketball men’s national team director), Othella Harrington, James Jones, and the entire USA Basketball staff.
“It was an amazing experience for me to work under Coach Fratello in the November window,” continued Prunty. “We coached against each other internationally in the 2013 Eurobasket so it was great to be on his staff rather than opposing him and his team. It was special to be on his staff to not only learn, but also getting to know him better. He is an excellent coach and an even better person.”
Prunty, who served as an assistant coach for Mike Fratello with the November 2020 USA Basketball AmeriCup Qualifying Team and helped the U.S. to a 2-0 record, has 23 years of experience in the NBA. NBA teams with Prunty as a part of their coaching staff qualified for 17 NBA playoffs in his 23 seasons, and he has been part of teams that have won three NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005), all as a member on the San Antonio Spurs staff. He also advanced to the NBA Finals with Dallas in 2006.
Prunty served as interim head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and went 21-16 over the final 37 games of the 2017-18 season, and he spent five summers as head coach of Great Britain’s national team from 2013-2017, qualifying for EuroBasket in 2013 and 2017.
Prunty also has high school and college coaching experience – coaching four years at the University of San Diego High School (Calif.), St. Augustine High School (Calif.), and at the University of San Diego.
“I’m extremely proud and excited to represent the USA and USA basketball in the AmeriCup qualifying games. It is a privilege to work with talented players and a great coaching staff,” said Harrington.
Harrington was a four-year starter for Georgetown University who played 12 seasons in the NBA and in 709 regular-season games compiled 5,212 points (7.4 ppg.) and 3,130 rebounds (4.4 rpg.). He returns to the USA bench after serving as an assistant coach for the February 2020 and November 2020 USA AmeriCup Qualifying teams, which saw the USA finish 4-0.
Harrington previously served as the team scout for Jeff Van Gundy and the USA World Cup Qualifying teams during their November/December 2018 and February 2019 competition windows and helped USA squads compile a 5-1 record during the three stints, as well as earn a qualifying berth for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. He also served four seasons (2011-15) as Georgetown’s director of basketball operations.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the coaches and players on the USA Basketball AmeriCup Qualifying Team,” said Jones. “In 2007 I was fortunate enough to work with the USA Pan American Team, and to this day it remains one of my favorite coaching experiences.”
Jones is Yale’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach and brings prior USA Basketball coaching experience as an assistant coach for the 2007 USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Team and as a court coach for the 2006 USA Men’s U18 National Team Trials.
The longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, Jones has compiled a 333-280 career record and has guided the Bulldogs to five Ivy League championships (2002, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020), three NCAA Tournament berths (2016, 2019 and 2020) and six postseason appearances. Currently ranking second for most overall wins in league history and third for Ivy League wins, his .612 winning percentage in Ivy games is the highest in Yale school history.
FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying
The 2020-21 FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers feature 16 teams from the Americas zone divided into four groups of four teams. The top three finishing teams in each Group will earn a berth in the FIBA AmeriCup 2022.
FIBA AmeriCup 2022 qualifying consists of three windows, and each window features two games. The first window was held Feb. 20-24, 2020, and the USA team, led by Fratello, earned a pair of wins, defeating Puerto Rico 83-70 in San Juan and 95-73 in Washington, D.C. Window two of AmeriCup Qualifying took place Nov. 27-30, and the USA improved its record to 4-0 and earned the United States its berth into the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 after convincing wins over Bahamas (99-59) and Mexico (94-78). The third and final qualifying window is scheduled to be held Feb. 17-22, 2021. The Americans are slated to close out play against the Bahamas on Feb. 19 and Mexico on Feb. 20.
AmeriCup Qualifying Group A consists of Argentina (3-1), Venezuela (3-1), Chile (1-3) and Colombia (1-3); Group B includes Brazil (4-0), Panama (2-2), Uruguay (2-2) and Paraguay (0-4); while Group C features Dominican Republic (3-1), Canada (1-1), Cuba (1-2) and U.S. Virgin Islands (1-2).
The FIBA AmeriCup 2022, considered the FIBA Americas zone championship, will feature 12 nations from North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America.
The USA men won the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup with a 5-0 record, and in its next most recent participation in 2007, the U.S. rumbled over its opposition in Las Vegas and finished 10-0 to win gold and capture one of the FIBA Americas zone's two qualifying berths for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Overall, USA Basketball officially has now fielded teams in nine AmeriCups (formerly known as FIBA Americas Championships), and has won seven gold (2017, 2007, 2003, 1999, 1997, 1993 and 1992) and one silver medal (1989), while compiling a 65-10 win-loss record.