Today IMG Academy announced the addition of Kenny Natt as Director of the IMG Academy’ basketball program. Natt, current Head Coach of the Indian National Team, will relocate to Bradenton, Fla. from India to assume his new role, while continuing to serve the Indian National Team.
“After spending a great deal of my career within the NBA, I am thrilled to return to my early passion for youth basketball development and the ability to transform lives through the game I love,” remarked Natt. “IMG Academy offers one of the most unique and engaging basketball programs I have ever come across. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves as a mentor to these student-athletes, while helping continue to attract and develop the best young talent from around the world.”
The IMG connection for Natt began in 2011 when the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), in conjunction with IMG Reliance, its partner in developing basketball in the country, appointed Natt as Head Coach of the Indian National Team. Within this role, Natt oversees national team operations and the promotion of the sport at the grassroots level in India. Natt will expand his role with the BFI with his relocation to IMG Academy, which is home to a number of Indian high school basketball players via IMG Reliance, in addition to student-athletes from more than 85 countries.
Within his new role, Natt will oversee the growth and expansion of IMG Academy’ basketball program for youth and high school student-athletes, as well as its training programs for post-graduates and professional league-bound players. Earlier this year, IMG Academy unveiled new basketball offices, locker rooms, meeting/video rooms, and, most recently, a second multi-million dollar gymnasium adjacent to the current facility.
“Kenny’s experience coaching at the youth level through the professional ranks will prove invaluable to our student-athletes as they look to develop into leaders in the classroom, on the court and in the community,” remarked Greg Phillips, IMG Academy’ Athletics Director. “We look forward to welcoming Kenny to the IMG family as our basketball program embarks on this new and exciting chapter.”
Prior to working with the BFI, Natt spent 13 years as an NBA coach for the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Sacramento Kings, including as the head coach of the Kings during the 2008-09 NBA season. As an assistant coach under Jerry Sloan in the mid-90s, Natt was part of the Jazz’s NBA Finals run with legends Karl Malone and John Stockton. He then joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as an assistant coach where he was involved in the development of a young LeBron James, now the 2012 NBA Finals MVP. Natt also had a nine-year professional playing career within the NBA, CBA and WBL. He spent several years playing with the Pacers and Jazz, having been selected by the Pacers as the 30th overall pick of the 1980 NBA Draft.
“I’m extremely delighted for Kenny to have such a rewarding opportunity with a top-notch organization that is renowned throughout the NBA, NCAA and internationally, for its superb training,” remarked Jerry Sloan, former Head Coach of the Utah Jazz and Basketball Hall of Fame member. “Kenny possesses a rare knack for coaxing the best efforts out of players. I’m confident that he will be an excellent addition to IMG Academy, just as he was for me and for the Utah Jazz organization. His extensive knowledge, experience and leadership skills will no doubt benefit him at IMG, where there is such a strong emphasis placed on individual player development.”
Earlier in his career, Natt served as an assistant coach at Youngstown State University, and worked extensively with youth organizations including Hoop School, Inc., a non-profit youth outreach organization he co-founded. He also founded the Pelican State Youth Movement in Louisiana, aimed at better preparing today’s youth for meeting life’s challenges through organized sport and activity.
Kenny, his wife Jolene and their two daughters, Ki’Essence and Yazmine, will relocate to Bradenton, Fla. in July.