While the Charlotte Hornets practiced in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this past week, they had a special guest in the building nearly every day.
Fayetteville-raised and Grammy-nominated rapper J. Cole hung out with James Borrego and the Hornets nearly all week. Cole talked with players and worked with a trainer on his own.
At the end of the week, the Hornets presented the rapper with a custom jersey with the No. 15 on the back. According to the Fayetteville Observer, that’s the number Cole wore when he played at Terry Sanford High School back in the day. Hornets’ fans know that number formerly belonging to star guard Kemba Walker. The number has not been assigned to a Hornet for this season.
Cole, 34, performed at the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Charlotte last season.
Staff changes for the Hornets
General manager Mitch Kupchak announced several staff hires and changes for the Hornets earlier this week.
The notable addition was the hiring of Nick Friedman, who joins the organization as a player development coach. Friedman will work with the coaching staffs of the Hornets and the Greensboro Swarm, accompanying players on their assignments to and from the G-League in a hybrid role. Friedman has three years of coaching experience in the G-League and has also worked with the Haitian national team. Friedman got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at the University of Miami. Friedman worked with Terry Rozier when the guard spent time with the Maine Red Claws a few seasons ago.
Among the other changes were:
- Garrius Adams joins the Hornets as an assistant video coordinator. He worked for the Lakers last season and played college basketball at Miami.
- Lauren McGuigan begins her first season as the director of sports science on the Hornets’ medical staff. She previously worked for the Oklahoma City Thunder and U.S. Soccer.
- Jordan Wilkes was hired by the Hornets as a scout after spending six seasons with the Lakers. He played four years of college basketball at Cal.
- Jordan Surenkamp has been promoted from assistant video coordinator to head video coordinator. Surenkamp joined the team last season after working with the Brooklyn Nets and at the University of South Alabama.
- Justin Jordan has moved from being an assistant video coordinator to being a scout.
- Andrew Dozer was named coordinator of basketball administration.
The Hornets announced that Malik Monk, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Joe Chealey will miss the preseason opener in Boston on Sunday. Monk is dealing with right toe soreness, Kidd-Gilchrist has an illness and Chealey is dealing with a right ankle sprain.
Additionally, Devonte’ Graham is listed as probable, as he is also dealing with an illness.
Cody Martin dealt with an ankle injury all week at training camp, but participated in the majority of Thursday’s practice and was not listed on Friday’s injury report.
Marvin Williams left Thursday’s practice early after taking an elbow to the head, but was not on the injury report for Friday or Saturday.
Aside from J. Cole, other folks who stopped by the Hornets’ training camp included two-time NBA champion David West, former NBA Coach of the Year George Karl and UNC head coach Roy Williams.