PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Suns announced Saturday that they have hired a new head coach entering their 2017-18 campaign.
Cody Toppert has been named the new head coach for the Northern Arizona Suns, coming to Prescott Valley from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach.
This will be Toppert’s first year as a head coach in the NBA G League. He will be coaching the Suns tonight as they take on the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario at 7 p.m. at the Prescott Valley Event Center.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Cody, his wife Brittney, and his two daughters to the Suns family,” NAZ Suns General Manager Louis Lehman said. “Cody embodies everything the Suns organization looks for in a coach and a person. His knowledge of the game, character, work ethic, and past experiences as a player and coach have prepared him for this opportunity. I look forward to working with Cody on building off of the success our previous staff was able to lay the foundation for and establish the Northern Arizona Suns as the premiere franchise in the NBA G League.”
At the head of the offense last year, Toppert had the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the league. They were first in scoring (120.1 points per game), first in shooting percentage (48.6 percent from the floor), first in offensive rebounding (14.0 offensive boards per game), second in assists (23.4 assists per game) and second in field goals made (43.2 FGM per game). Rio Grande Valley also led the league in effective field goal percentage (54.5 percent) and true shooting percentage (58.6 percent).
The Vipers came just a game away from winning the NBA Development League Finals in 2016-17, as they dropped the winner-take-all Game 3 against the Raptors 905.
During the 34-year-old’s first season at RGV, the Vipers also saw great success. They advanced to the playoffs as the third seed in the Western Conference, and had the second-best offense throughout the season, scoring 116.3 points per game.
Besides working for the Vipers, Toppert has also been a key asset to their parent club, the Houston Rockets, working on scouting projects over the last two years and assisting their 2016 Summer League team in Las Vegas.
He also serves as an assistant coach for the Senior National team of Haiti.
The Cornell graduate enjoyed a great professional career as a player, spending seven years overseas and one year in the NBA G League. He had playing stints in Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Bulgaria, Portugal and New Zealand.
In his lone year in the NBA G League, Toppert averaged 3.6 PPG for the 2005-06 champion Albuquerque Thunderbirds.
The new NAZ Suns head coach replaces Ty Ellis, who was called up by the Phoenix Suns and named an assistant coach for the squad on Oct. 24. Ellis led the NAZ Suns to a 10-1 start in their inaugural season, tied for the best start through the first 11 games of a season in NBA G League history. The team finished the year 22-28.
Tyler Gatlin led the 2017-18 NAZ Suns during training camp this past week in the absence of Ellis. He will remain on the coaching staff.
The Northern Arizona Suns begin their 2017-18 season against the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario tonight at the Prescott Valley Event Center at 7 p.m.
Season tickets are now on sale for the Northern Arizona Suns’ second year in the NBA G League. Visit nazsuns.com/memberships to view available full or half season membership options at the Prescott Valley Event Center. Season tickets start at just $192 and come with a plethora of benefits, including first right of refusal for playoff tickets and exclusive events with the team.