DJ Bakker, a longtime player development coach under Dwane Casey in both Toronto and Detroit, has been named the head coach of the Motor City Cruise, the team announced Tuesday.
“DJ brings tremendous basketball knowledge and has had great success working with players at all levels,” said Rob Murphy, president and general manager for the Motor City Cruise. “He’s a great communicator, teacher and possesses the tools necessary to accelerate the growth of our players and team. DJ has been preparing his entire life for this opportunity. I know he will represent the Cruise and our entire organization the right way.”
In a release touting the hiring, Bakker is noted for his general player development background as well as work specifically with Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell, Fred Van Vleet, Alfonso McKinnie, Luke Kennard and Saddiq Bey.
As a longtime assistant under Casey, he will also be able to make sure the offensive and defensive philosophies and terminologies sync up, and that player development and progression advances in line with the goals of the Detroit Pistons organization.
“It’s an honor to be chosen as the first head coach of the Motor City Cruise,” said Bakker. “I know how much the Cruise means to this organization and the city of Detroit. This is a great opportunity I take pride in and will bring a high level of energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic daily to ensure this is a successful experience for our players and organization — Detroit is home.”
Motor City Cruise host open tryout
The Detroit Pistons are welcoming a new G League franchise into the fold with the Motor City Cruise set to begin its first season as a Pistons affiliate. The Cruise will play home games during their inaugural season in a new arena shared with Wayne State University.
For those interested in trying out, there is a $200 non-refundable tryout fee and all participants are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The tryout is limited to the first 105 people who fully complete the registration process.
Tryouts will be held on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center, 690 Amsterdam St. in Detroit. Cruise President and General Manager Rob Murphy will be watching the tryout and evaluating the participants.