PORTLAND, Ore. (October 2, 2023)– The Portland Trail Blazers have announced basketball operations additions and promotions for the 2023-24 season.
Dr. Evan Ellis will begin his first season in Portland as the Director of Health and Performance. Dr. Ellis has served as the team’s co-physician since 2014 and has served as an orthopedic surgeon at Rebound in Portland. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ellis specializes in knee and shoulder injuries, sports medicine, cartilage repair, and ACL reconstruction.
Dr. Ellis performed his undergraduate training at the Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was an Academic All-American basketball player. After obtaining his medical degree at the University of Michigan Medical School, Dr. Ellis completed his internship and residency training at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He then finished his training as a Sports Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. During fellowship, Dr. Ellis was on the medical staff for the St. Louis Rams and St. Louis Blues of the NFL and NHL respectively.
Dr. Courtney Watson comes to the Portland Trail Blazers and will serve as the Head Athletic Trainer after spending the previous 15 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and most recently as the Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer.
Along with her long-time WNBA experience, Dr. Watson also became the first female athletic trainer in the sport of boxing as the trainer for welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather. In the Spring of 2022, the Los Angeles native also served as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Women’s USA National Team at the 2022 FIBA World Cup, where the United States brought home a gold medal, making it the third of her career.
Geoff Clark has assumed the role of Scouting Medical Director and will assist General Manager Joe Cronin in evaluating prospective players from a medical perspective as well as assessing injury trends and health best practices around the league. Clark will enter his 26th season with the Trail Blazers.
Dale Boyd has been promoted to the team’s Head Strength Coach. Boyd joined Portland in 2022 as the Assistant Strength Coach and previously holding the same title for Overtime Elite during the 2021-22 season. Boyd has also served as Head Strength and Conditioning coach for the Austin Spurs of the NBA G League.
Jeff Kraayeveld joins the Trail Blazers as an Assistant Team Therapist after serving as an athletic trainer at Rebound Orthopedics & Neurosurgery. Prior to Rebound, Kraayeveld previously did his internship with the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, and was the athletic trainer for the Portland Lumberjax, a professional lacrosse team.
This season, the Trail Blazers are instituting a Nutrition Department in a brand-new state of the art kitchen led by Hali Foreman, Director of Nutrition/Executive Chef, at the Trail Blazers Practice Facility opening in October. Alongside Foreman, CJ Jackson, Danielle Julifs and longtime team dietician Michelle Tegenkamp will serve the team from a culinary and dietary aspect.
Foreman was hired in May of 2023 to lead the construction of the new kitchen and will oversee the food and nutrition program. Prior to joining the Trail Blazers, Foreman was the Associate Director of Performance Nutrition/Performance Chef at the Utah Jazz. In her nearly ten-year career, Foreman has also worked to fuel multiple championship winning NCAA football teams including The University of Alabama, The University of Georgia and finally Clemson University where she served as the Executive Performance Chef for five seasons.
Jackson will serve as the Chef de Cuisine and will help run the new Culinary Nutrition operation for the Trail Blazers. A native of Detroit and former educator, Jackson has conquered cities such as Atlanta, and Memphis through multiple different culinary ventures. Julifs joins the Portland Trail Blazers in her first season as the Nutrition Logistics Coordinator. Julifs most recently served as the Performance Nutrition Intern with the Cleveland Browns during the 2022-2023 season.
Mark Tyndale has been promoted to Assistant Coach after serving the previous two seasons as Player Development Assistant. Prior to arriving in Portland, Tyndale entered the league as a player development coach with the Toronto Raptors.
The Trail Blazers have also added Pooh Jeter, Gilbert Abraham and Ryan Gomes as Player Development Coaches. In addition to his role on Billups’ staff, Jeter will serve as Assistant General Manager of Rip City Remix, Portland’s G League affiliate. Jeter spent the past two seasons playing with the G League Ignite, averaging 7.4 points (44.2% FG, 44.9% 3-PT, 92.9% FT), 1.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 17.3 minutes per game in 28 contests for the Ignite during the 2022-23 season. His playing career also included a stint with the Sacramento Kings in 2010-11 as well as international experience in Spain, Israel, China, France, Turkey and Ukraine.
Abraham comes to the Trail Blazers after spending last season as an assistant coach for the Austin Spurs, the G League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs. He also most recently acted as the Director of Performance for Tandem Sports and Entertainment from 2021-23. Gomes joins Billups’ staff having acted as a Head Coach at Overtime Elite during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons and an assistant coach with the Long Island Nets, the G league affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, during the 2016-17 season. Prior to coaching, the Waterbury, Connecticut native played eight seasons in the NBA from 2005-2014 and also had brief stints internationally in Spain and Germany.
Additionally, the Trail Blazers have added Eli Kell-Abrams as Head Video Coordinator after spending the previous two seasons as the Head Video Coordinator for the Philadelphia 76ers. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Kell-Abrams was an Assistant Video Coordinator (2019-21) and a Video Intern (2018-19) with the Miami Heat.