Former NBA player and coach Rick Brunson will be hired as the new basketball coach at Camden High School pending board of education approval, The Inquirer has learned.
Brunson will replace Vic Carstarphen, his former teammate at Temple. Carstarphen resigned after one season to focus on a run for Camden City Council.
The Camden Board of Education’s next meeting is scheduled for June 25. Brunson is expected to be approved as the Panthers’ new coach at that time.
Reached Wednesday morning, Brunson declined to comment before his hiring is made official by the board.
Brunson will take over a team that looks poised to recapture some of the excitement of the glory years of perhaps South Jersey’s most fabled program.
Camden is projected to return its starting frontcourt from last season, led by senior-to-be Lance Ware, as well as Jerome Brewer and TaQuan Woodley, both of whom will be juniors.
In addition, highly touted eighth grader D.J. Wagner, the son of former Camden star Dajuan Wagner and grandson of former Camden star Milt Wagner, is expected to become the third member of the famous family to play for the Panthers.
D.J. Wagner attends Kingsway Middle School, but the family is expected to establish residence in the city, which would allow the athlete regarded by most national ranking services as one of the top players in the country in the class of 2023 to play for Camden.
Camden was 17-10 last season. The Panthers’ season ended with a 69-67 loss to eventual state champion Haddonfield in an overtime classic in the South Jersey Group 2 final March 4 at Cherry Hill East.
Camden has won 11 state titles in basketball. The Panthers’ last title was in 2000, when the team also became the last public school to win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions behind Dajuan Wagner and Arthur Barclay.
Brunson, 46, played nine seasons in the NBA for eight teams and served as an assistant coach for four NBA teams. Brunson, who lives in Cherry Hill, is the father of Jalen Brunson, who helped lead Villanova to two national titles and currently plays for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
Rick Brunson was arrested in June 2014 and indicted on charges of attempted criminal sexual assault after an encounter with a massage therapist outside Chicago. He testified that the incident was consensual and was acquitted.
In May 2018, Brunson resigned as an assistant coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a move that NBA sources said came amid allegations of harassment of several women, according to an ESPN report.