KEY POINTS

  • Assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb was hired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2019
  • Collin Sexton is the eighth overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft
  • Sexton credits Gottlieb for his development as a player

Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb is set to leave the team to make a college basketball return for the USC Trojans starting next fall.

The 43-year-old veteran women’s basketball tactician was signed to a six-year deal by the Trojans, according to ESPN, ending his tenure with the Cavaliers at the conclusion of the regular season.

One of the Cavs grateful for Gottlieb’s impact is budding star Collin Sexton, who straightforwardly said the assistant is “a huge part” of his development.

“Coach Lindsay, she is a huge part of my development, I would say, just because especially pre-game or even just at practice, she will pull me to the side and whisper some things to me,” Sexton said in Monday’s post-game interview against the Indiana Pacers.

The eighth overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft was pertaining to Gottlieb’s penchant for film reviews and breakdowns, and how meticulously she provides details to Sexton and the rest of the team.

“She always continues to show what she can do. She’s amazing when it comes to Xs and Os. Especially scouting, you know she’s gonna put a thousand percent effort into it,” the 6-foot-1 combo guard said.

Gottlieb made history when she was hired by the franchise in 2019 to a four-year deal, becoming the first female women’s basketball head coach to make the jump to the NBA.

Before her stint with the 2016 champions, Gottlieb towed the California Golden Bears to seven NCAA tournaments in her eight-year stay, reaching the Final Four back in 2013.

Sexton added that aside from being technical, Gottlieb is also great in the motivational side, injecting confidence to those she’s handled and giving them constant support. 

"She is always upbeat and happy. She brings joy to the team,” Sexton mentioned. “She just tells me to stay calm and relax a little bit.”

While it has been a major struggle for the Cavs this season, the 22-year-old scorer is indeed enjoying better individual numbers this year, norming a team-best 24.4 points to go along with 3.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.1 steals.

One highlight of his season is dropping a career-high 42 points in January when the Cavs slayed the Brooklyn Nets.

“The Young Bull” is slowly building his reputation in the league, and he has Gottlieb to thank for part of his progress.

Moving forward, Sexton said he will keep in mind the relationship he has with the mentor. 

“I know that I can go to her and talk to her about real situations just off the court," Sexton shared. "She is always going to give me the real advice, the true advice that I need. She is not going to sugarcoat; if she feels I am not playing to my potential, then she’ll let me know that.”

Collin Sexton Collin Sexton was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In this picture, Sexton poses with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted eighth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2018 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 21, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images