EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles D-Fenders have named Casey Owens as head coach, it was announced
today by team President/CEO Joey Buss and General Manager Nick Mazzella.
Owens replaces Conner Henry, who was called up to the Orlando Magic coaching staff on June 26th, and returns to the D-Fenders after serving as an assistant coach for the team during the 2013-14 season. The D-Fenders finished that season as West Division Champions, amassing a 31-19 record and earning the second overall seed in the 2014 playoffs. Four D-Fenders earned GATORADE Call-Ups during the 2013-14 campaign, including Manny Harris and Shawne Williams, who were called up to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We are proud to announce Casey Owens as head coach of the D-Fenders,” said Buss. “Casey’s success globally and domestically is critical to our goal of developing players in a winning atmosphere, which will help guide us in our pursuit of a championship.”
“I want to thank Nick Mazzella, the Buss family and the entire organization for this opportunity,” Owens said. “I am excited to return to El Segundo and the NBA Development League and look forward to the challenge of helping assemble a team that will compete for a championship. The D-Fenders are a respected franchise and have had great success on and off the court, and I am elated to lead them on the floor.”
A 16-year veteran of professional basketball, Owens has worked in coaching, player development and scouting at the NBA, NBA D-League, Continental Basketball Association, and international levels. Prior to joining the D-Fenders staff, Owens served as head coach of Guaiqueries in the Venezuelan Professional League for the 2012-13 season. Owens spent the 2011-12 season as an assistant coach for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, where the team reached the semi-finals of the CBA playoffs. Responsible for all opponent scouting and player development, Owens also assisted in foreign player acquisitions, resulting in the signings of Kenyon Martin and Patty Mills from the NBA. Owens got his start in China as an assistant coach for the Shanghai Sharks in 2009-10. The Sharks, owned by Yao Ming, went from 6-44 in 2008-09 to 27-5 in 2009-10, reaching the semi-finals of the CBA playoffs with Owens on staff. Owens left Shanghai after one season to take the reigns as head coach of Fujian SBS for the 2010-11 season. With Owens in charge, Fujian won the Kunming Summer Invitational and the Haiygun CBA Tournament in the same season.
“Casey has a bright mind for the game and is an excellent communicator,” said Mazzella. “His work ethic and knack for developing players will be an asset to the organization, and we are confident in his ability to create a positive and winning culture.”
Prior to his work in China, Owens was an assistant coach for the Colorado 14ers of the NBA D-League from 2007-09, while also serving as an NBA D-League scouting consultant for the Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks. The 14ers reached the playoffs in both seasons with Owens on the bench, collecting a 37-16 record in 2008-09 and winning the 2009 NBA D-League Championship. Nine players earned GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA in Owens’ two seasons with Colorado, while seven players were named NBA D-League All-Stars.
Owens spent three seasons as an assistant coach for the Dakota Wizards of the Continental Basketball Association from 2001-04, winning the CBA championship in 2002 and 2004. Owens was also a scout for the Portland Trail Blazers from 2001-04, evaluating all CBA personnel for the team. Prior to the 2004-05 season, Owens was promoted to head coach of the Wizards, and collected a 31-16 record en route to a Western Conference Championship.
A 1994 graduate of New Mexico State University, Owens received his B.A. in English before attending Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, earning his Masters of Fine Arts in Writing & Poetics in 1996.