LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Aces Head Coach Becky Hammon announced Feb. 24 that the team has hired Natalie Nakase as an assistant coach.
“I’m extremely thrilled to be adding Natalie Nakase to my Aces coaching staff,” said Hammon. “Natalie brings a wealth of experience on the professional level in writing up scouting reports, game planning, film work and player development. She has worked under and with some of the best basketball minds in the game. Her work ethic, drive, and passion for basketball and people will be invaluable to our entire organization!”
“I am very excited and honored to join Becky’s staff,” said Nakase. “Becky is our leader of this empowering organization, and I cannot wait to assist her. The Las Vegas Aces embodies talent, hard work and fierce competitors. I’m grateful for this opportunity and want to thank Nikki Fargas and Mark Davis for welcoming me to the family.”
For the past ten years, Nakase was a part of the Los Angeles Clippers organization, serving most recently as the assistant coach for their G League team, the Agua Caliente Clippers, under Tyronn Lue.
She began working for Los Angeles in 2012 as an intern under Vinny Del Negro, later becoming the team’s assistant video coordinator for Doc Rivers. In 2017, she spent one year as an Agua Caliente assistant under Casey Hill, before becoming the player development/assistant coach for the Clippers for three seasons.
Nakase was a walk-on at UCLA, and played her way into the starting lineup at point guard and team captain for three seasons.
After graduation, she played professionally for two years in the NWBL with the San Jose Spiders and San Diego Siege. Nakase also spent one season in Germany, but a knee injury ended her playing career.
She chose to remain in Germany, beginning her coaching career as the head coach of the Wolfenbüttel Wildcats (2008-10), and later traveled to Japan to work for a professional men’s team, the Tokyo Apache (2010-11).
The following season, Nakase joined the Saitama Broncos staff, taking over as head coach midway through the year, making her the first female head coach in the league’s history.