LAS VEGAS — George Galanopoulos’ excitement level is through the roof after he was named today as the new head coach of the NBA G League’s Texas Legends.
Galanopoulos replaces Bob MacKinnon, who coached the Legends to a 70-80 record from 2016 through this past season. Hired on June 28, 2016, MacKinnon coached the Legends to a first-round playoff berth in 2018, which was only the second time the Legends qualified for the playoffs since they moved to Frisco for the 2010-’11 campaign.
Since the summer of 2017, Galanopoulos has served as the head coach of the Uganda National Team. He also was the assistant video coordinator for the Dallas Mavericks this past season, and was an assistant coach on MacKinnon’s staff during the 2016-’17 season.
“Obviously, personally it’s a very cool opportunity for me, but more importantly just having been a part of the Legends’ and Mavericks’ organizations jointly over the last four years, they have a place in my heart,” Galanopoulos said. “It’s not like I’m just getting a job for a random team that I’ve been stuck the last four years at.
“Dallas has become home for me and so have the Mavericks’ and Legends’ organizations. So I’m just happy and excited that I get to keep it in the family and try to help the Mavericks ultimately win basketball games and try to help develop young men and professionals and help them move forward with their careers.”
A player development intern for the Mavs during the 2015-’16 season, Galanopoulos is known as a hard worker who hits the ground running on a daily basis. He’s obviously more than ready to get the ball rolling with the Legends, who are the Mavs’ G League affiliation.
“The first order of business is making sure we’ve got our staff together,” the 30-year old Galanopoulos said. “And once we’ve got our staff together we’re going to talk about what our vision is for our team and the season both from a staff development standpoint as well as a player development standpoint, and basically put the team together.
“Obviously in the G League, the rosters are very fluid and you may not know your training camp roster until a week before training camp. So going through the process of getting our staff together and, like I said, putting the team together, there are certain specifics you’ve got to go through in order to get to that point over the next couple of months, but that’s basically where we’re at right now.”
Galanopoulos becomes the sixth head coach in the Legends’ history.
“We are thrilled to bring George back to Frisco and give him the opportunity to move up into a new role,” Legends president and general manager Malcolm Farmer said. “He’s been a valued member of the Mavericks family for years and we are pleased to have somebody come in who is already familiar with the organization, staff and fans.”
While attending Indiana University, Galanopoulos worked with the Hoosiers’ men’s basketball program and that experience led him to a job with the G League’s Bakersfield Jam.
“George has worked hard for the past four seasons in the organization and that clearly has not gone unnoticed,” said Al Whitley, the vice president of basketball operations for the Legends. “He has earned a reputation with both the Mavs and the Legends for his work ethic and basketball IQ.
“We are thrilled to promote from within and give this opportunity to someone so deserving.”
As far as the Uganda National Team goes, Galanopoulos was hired to breathe new life into a program that had reached new lows. The Buffalo Grove, Ill., product brought a wealth of knowledge to the African team’s program, and hopes to do the same with the Legends.
“I’ve coached three tournaments (with the Uganda National Team) that took place in the summer in the offseason, so I actually just got back from Uganda,” said Galanopoulos, who is in Las Vegas with the Mavs’ summer league team. “We had a qualifying tournament there that took three weeks and I flew back (to Dallas) on the third of July and flew out to summer league with the (Mavs on July 4).”
And now, Galanopoulos is excited about the next chapter in his basketball career.
“I think we’ve got a great staff in place from last year – some good players as well,” he said. “And we’ve got a great scouting staff with the Mavericks that’s going to help us out with players.
“The excitement level is indescribable.”