Jean-Paul Afif may be one of the top young undiscovered coaching talents in the country. Jean-Paul signed a preseason contract with the Sacramento Kings; in 2002, but was released before the season. He was also drafted in the NBDL that same season; also with stints overseas in Italy, Lebanon, and Turkey. Though he excelled as a player, he might be an even better coach.
Jean-Paul was named an ABA All-Star Head Coach during the 2007-2008 season when he lead the Texas Tycoons to a 21-3 overall record. What is amazing is that during that very same season, he stepped in as Head Coach and General Manager of the Dallas PBL. Inheriting a team that was 2-9, Jean-Paul turned around Dallas and finished on a 7-3 run and winning a playoff berth! As if that's not impressive enough, this was done while simultaneously coaching the Tycoons to a banner season. The Tycoons finished the season 21-3 and were ABA finalists.
Jean-Paul was forced to work with depleted rosters on both teams. In order to fill them out, Jean-Paul went to local YMCAs and gyms in the Dallas area and signed local players. Of the 8 that he signed from around the city, all 8 were picked in this years D-League draft! He hand-picked 8 amateur players out of local gyms and turned every single one of them into D-League draftees - simply amazing. The list of players scouted, developed and coached by Jean-Paul in 2007-2008 include:
Kurt Looby 12th pick in the 3rd round to the Rio Grande Valley Viper
Marcus Sloan 7th pick of the 4th round to the Reno Bighorns
Donnie Beacham 1st pick in the 7th round to the Tulsa 66ers
Kenny Barnes 13th pick in the 7th round to the Los Angeles Defenders
Lorenzo Davis 3rd pick in the 8th round to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds
LP Levros 3rd pick in the 9th round to the Idaho Stampede
O'Neal Mims 1st pick in the 10th round to the Austin Toros
Jean-Paul's eye for talent is in one word... incredible. To find players with almost no pro-basketball experience and turn them into D-League draft talent is an incredible feat that is a testament to Jean-Paul's capabilities. Not only does he have an eye for finding talented players, but he's also an expert at getting these players to realize that talent. Jean-Paul advocates a team strategy that focuses on a strong defense, but despite this, his offenses find ways to put points on the board in bunches. This past season with the Texas Tycoons, Jean-Paul's squad had 5 or more players averaging double digits in scoring under his "run and gun" offense.
With only a few years of coaching experience under his belt, Jean-Paul's accomplishments in such little time have been unprecedented. Having already ascended to the helm of an ABA program, the sky is the limit for Jean-Paul. Speaking about one of Jean-Paul's teams, ESPN's Chris Munson says, "This is a team that can run, and Jean-Paul will be an NBA coach one day." He hasn't been on the coaching scene long, but his skills are immediately evident to anyone that watches him in action. Jean-Paul is an expert at recognizing and developing talent, but also he blends these qualities with an uncanny ability to win basketball games...the true mark of an excellent coach. Without a doubt Jean-Paul will continue to impress as he works his way up the coaching ranks.