Former FSU Basketball Star Wins First NBA Championship As a Coach With Boston Celtics

After an illustrious career as a player, this former Seminole is adding his first ring as a coach
May 1, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell reacts to a play in the second half during game one of the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell reacts to a play in the second half during game one of the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the NBA Finals, giving them their 18th NBA Championship as a franchise and first since 2008.

Sam Cassell, a former standout for Florida State in the early 1990s, is an assistant coach for the Celtics after joining Joe Mazzulla's staff last offseason, winning his first ring as a coach. He won three championships as a player, two with the 1994 and 1995 Rockets and one with the 2008 Celtics, but now he gets to add one as a coach and it just so happens to be with the team he last won a championship with as a player.

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Cassell was a key veteran presence on the 2008 Celtics, helping the young Rajon Rondo blossom as a star guard. Former All-Star Paul Pierce even said that he, Kevin Garnett, and Cassell were the "Real Big Three" on that team, not Ray Allen. It's been no different since he became a coach, helping improve Jaylen Brown to become a Finals MVP. Before joining the Celtics, Cassell was an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Washington Wizards.

Now that the Celtics' season is complete, Cassell could be looking for a head coaching job. His name has been thrown around as an option for several different organizations looking for a head coach, including the Los Angeles Lakers. He has also been mentioned as a possible heir to Leonard Hamilton whenever he steps down, but making the transition to college can be hard for coaches who have only coached in the NBA.

Cassell starred at Florida State, averaging 18.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 4.4 APG in two seasons in Tallahassee, playing alongside Charlie Ward, Bob Sura, and Doug Edwards, a group that reached the Elite Eight in 1993. He was a two-time All-ACC selection and was a first-round pick by the Rockets in the 1993 NBA Draft. He's one of only three former Seminoles to become an All-Star in the NBA (Dave Cowens and Scottie Barnes) and one of two to win an NBA Championship as a major piece as a player (Cowens).


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Austin Veazey

AUSTIN VEAZEY

Lead basketball writer; Former FSU Men's Basketball Manager from 2016-2019