Coach from Hamilton Honey Badgers, Raptors 905 hired by NBA’s Detroit Pistons

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Published September 26, 2022 at 3:33 pm

Brittni Donaldson, who was integral to charting the course to a pro basketball title in Hamilton, is taking her talents to Motown.

Donaldson, who was part of the Ryan Schmidt-led coaching staff of the Canadian Elite Basketball League-champion Hamilton Honey Badgers this past summer, has been hired by the NBA’s Detroit Pistons as an assistant coach and director of coaching analytics. It will be the second assistant coaching stint in the league for Donaldson, who was previously the first woman on the coaching staff of the Toronto Raptors, as well as the youngest assistant coach in the NBA.

The Pistons hiring Donaldson, 29, gives the NBA six female assistant coaches among its 30 teams.

The CEBL has counted on female coaches since it tipped off in 2019. Chantal Vallée was the Honey Badgers’ coach during their inaugural season. Hamilton native and McMaster Marauders alumna Danielle Boiago is also an assistant coach with the Niagara River Lions, and got her first pro win in a game this season when Victor Raso was absent while his spouse gave birth.

During the shortened 2021 NBA G-League Bubble season, Donaldson joined Raptors 905 as a member of their coaching staff under head coach Patrick Mutombo. Raptors 905, under normal circumstances, are based in Mississauga.

Donaldson did not have a formal position in the NBA last season after leaving the Raptors organization. However, she was busy building up Strata Athletics, a holistic youth sports program that she was co-founded. This spring, she came aboard with the Honey Badgers for the CEBL’s May-to-August season. The Honey Badgers, with Burlington native Caleb Agada taking on the duties of their floor leader, won their first CEBL title with a dramatic win against the Scarborough Shooting Stars in the final last month.

Like Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, Donaldson hails from Iowa. In fact, both are alumni of the same school, Northern Iowa.

The Pistons, under head coach (and former Raptors sideline boss) Dwane Casey, were a lottery team last season, finishing 14th in the Eastern Conference with a 23-59 record. They chose guard Jaden Ivey with the No. 5 overall pick, immediately before Canadians Bennedict Mathurin (Indiana Pacers / Montréal) and Shaedon Sharpe (Portland Trail Blazers / London, Ont.) were selected.

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