Celtics

Watch Jayson Tatum and Ime Udoka go 1-on-1 at USA Basketball practice

Tatum didn't take it easy on his head coach.

Celtics head coach and development coach with the 2021 USA Basketball Men's National Team Ime Udoka looks on as Jayson Tatum warms up before an exhibition game. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jayson Tatum and Ime Udoka will already know each other well before the Celtics start their season.

The two are currently members of the USA Basketball team heading to the Tokyo Olympics – Tatum, of course, as a player, and Udoka as an assistant coach. Udoka, who took over as the Celtics head coach in late June, has praised Tatum and teammate Jaylen Brown.

“What I keep going back to is the talent,” Udoka said. “When you have two young pillars at that age, the sky is the limit. That’s what it starts with. You’re only as good as your players, and where you push them to get to.”

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Tatum then complimented Udoka and made it clear he’s eager to get to know him better in the coming weeks and months.

“Extremely happy about Ime,” Tatum told The Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn. “I’ve known him for a little while. He’s extremely motivated and I think everybody has a good feeling about this. I think this is going to be great.”

It appears the bonding is going smoothly so far, as the Celtics on Saturday posted a video of Tatum and Udoka going 1-on-1 in practice in Las Vegas.

Tatum hits Udoka with a series of moves, stepping back and burying jump shots and posting him up down low. Udoka, 43, moved his feet well, but he had no answer for Tatum.

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The United States is 1-2 in exhibition games, losing to Nigeria and Australia before responding with a smooth win over Argentina. Tatum missed the Argentina game due to right knee soreness, but he’s practicing fully and appears to be on track to compete in Tokyo.

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