Chris Finch has credited Sheffield Sharks for putting him on a path to becoming a NBA head coach.

The former Great Britain boss was formally unveiled last night as the new head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, completing his 25-year journey from rookie in the British Basketball League to the top of the tree.

At age 51, the Ohio native has taken a lengthy road which began when he surprisingly retired from his on-court career in the BBL to step up from player to playcaller in Yorkshire.

But the faith entrusted him by Sharks management at the time has paid the hugest dividends.

“In some ways my greatest lessons were with the Sharks because that was my first five, six years as a coach,” he said. “It was all trial and error, figuring out who you are, what works, and what you’re willing to live and die with.

“You’re forging your philosophy from there. I got that opportunity at age 27 which is quite remarkable looking back. I wouldn’t have hired me at the age of 27.

“You had not a lot of resources and not a big staff. You had to really figure it out, and do a little bit of everything and prioritise what matters and be in the trenches with your players every day.”

The Timberwolves have the NBA’s worst record. Finch acknowledging lifting them up will test his coaching chops.

But the ability to learn on the fly is something he honed before getting to the Association as an assistant, a decade ago.

“There were a lot of the same lessons when I got to the D-League with the guys in Houston. That’s something I can really draw on right now.

“This is a less than ideal situation for a coach. We don’t have a summer. We don’t have a pre-season. We have back to backs. But that’s life in some of the leagues I’ve coached in.

“Those challenges have really sharpened my resolve and my ability to be prepared and I’m taking that as a big challenge right now.”

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