From SFA Athletics
As he enters his third season at the helm of the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball program in 2018-19, head coach Kyle Keller will find himself on the receiving end of a unique opportunity this summer as he is one of four basketball coaches from around the nation who will be participating in the 2018 Belgrade Coaching Clinic held on June 30 and July 1, 2018.
Keller, the only college basketball coach as well as the only coach from the United States to be featured at the two-day clinic, joins Pedro Martinez, Aleksandar Džikic and Darko Rajakovic at the Ranko Žeravica Sports Hall in Belgrade, Serbia, for the two-day event.
Put on by the Serbian Association of Basketball Coaches, the clinic is in its 17th year of existence and serves as a way to instruct coaches and other team personnel among European basketball on ways to coach and train their respective teams in all facets of the game.
Two of the coaches joining Keller at the event - Džikic and Rajakovic - have extensive NBA backgrounds. Since 2014, Rajakovic has served as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder and has helped the squad claim two division titles and three playoff appearances while in that role.
Previously, Rajakovic was the head coach of the Thunder's NBA D-League squad, the Tulsa 66ers, for a pair of seasons. Before entering the NBA coaching ranks, Rajakovic spent 16 years coaching various levels of U-18 and U-20 teams in Serbia and also coached the Espacio Torrelodones in the Spanish Liga EBL for three seasons.
Džikic spent 2005-07 as an assistant coach for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves following stints as an NBA Summer League coach for the San Antonio Spurs (2003), Seattle SuperSonics (2004) and Timberwolves (2005).
Sandwiched around his three-year stint with the Wolves is a 22-year career for various professional teams from Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Lithuania.
Though Martinez has no NBA experience, he possesses a 29-year career of success through the Spanish professional basketball ranks. About to enter his second season in charge of Liga ACB and the EuroLeague's Baskonia, Martinez' recent accolades include being named the EuroCup Coach of the Year in 2017 after helping Valencia Basket win the Spanish League that same season.
Through his first two seasons in Nacogdoches, Keller has made sure SFA's reputation as one of the nation's premier mid-major college basketball programs has been upheld. Among all NCAA Division I head coaches who are about to enter their third season at the level, Keller's win total of 46 has been exceeded by just one individual and in 2017-18 the Dallas, Texas, native led the 'Jacks back to the NCAA Tournament following a one-year hiatus.
Last year, SFA turned in the fifth-most victories in a single season in program history by going 28-7 and as the number-three seed in the Southland Conference Tournament the 'Jacks punched their ticket to their fifth NCAA Tournament in program history by winning three games in three days at the league tourney.