Originally posted on Stepien Rules  |  Last updated 6/3/13
I was standing in the Cleveland Indians Social Suite on Saturday afternoon wearing a BROhio t-shirt while discussing the NBA career of former Cavaliers center Vitaly Potapenko. I had no idea that his return to the Cavs as a player-development coach was imminent. I didn't even actually know that Vitaly was coaching. Imagine my delight when I heard the news on Monday. What I felt the need to randomly mention for some reason on Saturday was how cool I always thought Chris Herren's reference to Potapenko was in his his book.   Herren was a teammate of Vitaly's later on in his career when they both played for Boston Celtics. On page 165 of the truly inspirational read, Basketball Junkie, Herren described Potapenko like this: "Vitaly Potapenko was a regular guy, the Ukraine Train. He was six foot nine with a shaved head, and looked like he can be an enforcer in the Russian mob. A tough, blue-collar type, he wasn't afraid of anyone, and nobody f*cked with him." How could you not be excited to have a guy like this back in the organization? Not to mention, he also represented the Cavaliers in the 1997 Rising Stars Challenge, held in Cleveland at Gund Arena. Notable participants also included Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Marcus Camby, Antoine Walker, Derek Fisher, Steve Nash and Steph Marbury among others.  [youtube]5vNfcX2D50c?t=55s[/youtube] At the 49-second mark in the video above, Vitaly makes his first appearance on a post-up where he is open but doesn't get the ball. At the 55-second mark, though, he does get the feed and brings the house down with a two-handed finish. At the 3:02 mark, Kobe sneaks by him for a basket but don't hate. It's Kobe freaking Bryant.   In the end, the Cavaliers big man helped the home team secure the 96-91 victory while Iverson earned MVP honors.  The news of Big V's return was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Potapenko had been an assistant in the NBA and the D-League, most recently with the Santa Cruz Warriors. In 1996 he was selected by the Cavs with the No. 12 pick overall out of Wright State--one pick before Kobe Bryant went 13th and two picks before Steve Nash was selected at 15.  Zydrunas Ilgauskas was later selected by Cleveland with the No. 20 pick.    It's reasonable to assume that Big Z and Big V have stayed in touch over the years. Maybe Ilgauskas had something to do with bringing the Big Fella home, I'm not totally sure on that.    After averaging 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in three season with the Cavaliers, Potapenko would retire in 2007 after averaging 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eagles rookie nixes anthem protest after talking to agent

Report: Romo has no ligament damage, to resume training soon

Michael Phelps to be honored with unique Wheaties box

Woman suing Brewers after being struck by foul ball

Report: ‘Strong chance’ J.J. Watt will play in Week 1

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Broncos name Trevor Siemian their Week 1 starter

Report: Jets fielding calls for Geno Smith

Report: Bryan Stork fails physical, rights revert to Pats

Eric Berry signs franchise tender, returns to Chiefs

Brandon Jennings takes swipe at Reggie Miller's career

Report: Kaepernick facing ‘uphill battle’ to make roster

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Six NFL quarterbacks the Cowboys must consider

Dwight Howard trying new way to improve free throw shooting

Eight players who have stepped up in NFL preseason so far

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker