Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse has joined the tributes to Robert Archibald, whose funeral takes place on Friday.

The Scot, who died last week at the age of 39, enjoyed his longest NBA stint with the Canadian outfit.

His passing has been marked by an outpouring of tributes from across the basketball world – many in tandem with those to Kobe Bryant – with moments of silence or applause in the Spanish ACB, the EuroLeague and the British Basketball League, as well as the University of Illinois.

And Nurse, who was Archibald’s assistant coach with Great Britain, credited his former charge.

“First of all, he was a good player,” he said. “And he was an intellect type of guy. Really smart. Had a lot of off-court savvy to him, or interests, or whatever.

“He was smart and well-read and well-cultured and well-traveled and all those things. He was an interesting, smart, smart guy. And it’s sad. We’ve talked to a lot of the players in Britain and guys who work on that team and coaching staff etc.”

He added, “Sad.”

Chris Finch, GB’s head coach along side Nurse, added his own tribute to Archibald, who will be buried in a private ceremony near his family home in Barrington, Illinois.

“Like everyone who knew Rob, I was saddened to learn of his passing,” the current New Orleans Hornets assistant said.

“Rob  was an integral part of our GB Programme, a foundational player.  He possessed all the attributes a winner could ask for, skilled, smart and fearless.  His experience and leadership proved to be invaluable for our young players and our emerging programme.

“He gave us strength and credibility and represented Great Britain and his native Scotland with all the toughness the and determination that those nations’ best athletes are renowned for.  Like all our players, Rob was more than just an elite basketball player.

“He was a caring soul who loved his teammates and kept the environment fun and loose with his great sense of humour and outlook on life.

“He will be missed by all those that  shared his journey.  It truly is a sad day and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and dear friends.”

It has been announced that the family of Archibald has created the Robert Archibald Student-Athlete Health and Wellness Fund in his honour at Illinois.

Photo: Mansoor Ahmed

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