Former NBA G League standout amidst second season on coaching staff
by Lauren Walsh
Mfon Udofia has always been a leader. He led on the court as a player, and now he’s leading from the sidelines as Assistant Coach, Player Development for the Delaware 87ers.
Udofia played at Georgia Tech from 2009-13 before being selected by the 87ers in the 2013 Draft. The Stone Mountain, Georgia native spent time playing professionally for Siarka Tanobrzeg in Poland and the G League’s Austin Spurs, and it was his time in Austin that truly opened his eyes to the possibility of coaching.
“I went to the Austin Spurs, and I was just the players’ coach,” Udofia said. “I was the leader helping guys that needed help with anything… on the court, off the court.
“After the season they approached me with the thought coaching and asked if I would interview for a job. I said, ‘No, I’m young. I want to play basketball. That’s all I want to be doing. I don’t want to be a coach, you know, I’m young’.”
The following year, Udofia went overseas to play in Poland. While there, he discovered he had a hip injury, and all of a sudden, that conversation in Austin catapulted to the forefront of his mind.
“I still can move, I still can play, but it wouldn’t allow me to play at a high level,” Udofia reflected. “So I decided to hang it up and start my coaching career. That how I ended up here.”
Fast-forward to today, and the guy they call “Moo” is right at home in Wilmington. He’s fully embraced his coaching role and hopes to move up the ladder in the future.
“I want to be a head coach,” Udofia explained. “So, start at the bottom as you guys know, and the G League is a grind, so I wanted to start here at the bottom and work my way up.”
His peers in the coaching world support Udofia in his current role, and in his long-term aspirations. Phil Martelli Jr. was an assistant coach with the Sevens last season, and now serves as the Director of Basketball Operations at Saint Joseph’s University.
“Mfon Udofia is a budding star in coaching, to tell you the truth,” Martelli Jr. said of his ome-time sideline colleague. “He’s going to do big things either at the professional level or the college level.”
Udofia credits his growing reputation to hard work and the true passion he has for the job.
“Just helping guys get better, seeing guys reach their full potential, reach their dream of going to the NBA, playing at a high division in college, whatever the case may be,” Udofia described as his reasons for loving coaching.
Although he’s not wearing a jersey, Mfon Udofia practices his craft just as seriously as the players do. “In coaching, you may see guys standing on the sideline, but it’s not as easy as people make it seem, so you have to continue to practice and practice. This is the G League, so you get a lot of practice under your belt and you get the chance to get better and grow,” Udofia explained.
Former Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson an important mentor in Udofia’s journey through the game.
“[Watson] coached me in G League when I was with Austin and he always told me, ‘Basketball is the route you take, it’s never your final destination’.”
Udofia has kept that advice with him and applied it to each step of his career.
“Basketball, that was the route I took, but it wasn’t my final destination. It may be coaching, it may be broadcasting, it may be whatever it may be,” Udofia explained. “So basketball opened up a lot of things for me.”