Jeff Hornacek has always had to beat the odds.
When the Suns selected the skinny, sharp-shooting guard from Iowa State every team except the New York Knicks passed on drafting Hornacek…twice.
15,659 career points later Hornacek is taking his skill-set from the floor to the bench after being officially introduced as Suns head coach earlier this week.
The challenge ahead is daunting.
Phoenix has missed the playoffs the past four seasons and last year bottomed out going 25-57. New general manager Ryan McDonough replaced Lance Blanks and hand-picked Hornacek to help lead the Suns out of NBA purgatory.
“I’m very happy for the Suns, I’m very happy for Jeff,” Valley sports icon and former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo told Brad Cesmat in a recent interview on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “For him to have the opportunity to be a head coach for the very first time for the team that drafted him originally [is special].”
If anyone knows Hornacek’s capabilities it’s Colangelo who drafted him with the second last pick in 1986.
“He made people around him better,” he told Cesmat. “He could play with most anyone and I think all those attributes are going to be very beneficial to him as a coach so I’m looking forward to it.”
Colangelo believes Hornacek, who’s father was a coach, has the intangibles after serving as an assistant for the past three years with the Utah Jazz but Suns fans need to be tempered with their expectations for the immediate future.
“They’re in transition, let’s be realistic,” he said. “Jeff, in his capacity as head coach, will look to see what kind of draft picks they can get…and look to see what kind of opportunities they have to improve the roster right now. It may take awhile to do that.”
He believes patience, more than anything, is the trait Hornacek needs most as he looks to rebuild a fallen franchise.