New Windy City Bulls coach Charlie Henry sees role clearly

The Bulls are in transition. The new coach of their G League team sees his role in that change pretty clearly.

Charlie Henry, 31, was named the new coach of the Hoffman Estates-based Windy City Bulls on Aug. 31 after spending two years on Fred Hoiberg’s staff. Henry replaces Nate Loenser, who will join the Bulls’ coaching staff.

Henry was able to solicit advice from Loenser.

“[Loenser] shared a lot of experiences as far as all the many positives of it as well as the challenges you’ll face,” Henry said.

Charlie Henry, seen here in a coaches huddle during a 2015 Bulls game, is taking over the Windy City Bulls. | Bill Smith, courtesy of Chicago Bulls

Though Henry will encounter many of the same challenges unique to the G League that Loenser did, there will be one major difference this season: the state of the Bulls organization.

Unlike 2016-17, the Bulls are clearly in a full rebuild. With the trade of Jimmy Butler, the departure of Rajon Rondo and the lingering questions around Dwyane Wade, development isn’t just part of the goal, it’s the only goal. Henry knows the organization-wide mission is to develop young players, build good habits and
establish a foundation for success, regardless of whether a player finds himself at the United Center or with Windy City.

“We’re going to be harping on the same things that the big team’s harping on,” Henry said. “We’re going to try to give our G League guys the tools going forward to begin their professional careers and achieve a certain amount of success.”

Though Windy City will likely get its share of NBA players rehabbing from injury or ones who have fallen out of the rotation, it’s possible the rebuild could mean fewer G League assignments than last season becayse the Bulls likely won’t be in contention or have many veterans who need playing time. But the Bulls’ current posture also gives them a chance to experiment and try to find players who might be productive.

Some of those players could be in the NBA, or maybe they’ll be unheralded performers who begin in the G League with Henry.

Either way, Henry knows what the goal is for the Bulls and his team in Windy City. 

“We’re also in a phase where we’re trying to accumulate young players that we feel may have a future with the Chicago Bulls, so we want to get our hands on as many of those guys as possible and see which ones develop and which ones take to our program and what we’re trying to do,” Henry said.

NOTE: The WNBA draft lottery is Thursday night on ESPN2 at halftime of the Washington-Minnesota playoff game. The Sky control two of the four lottery picks.

Follow me on Twitter @BrianSandalow.

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