Cal Poly Men’s Basketball Staff Update

Head coach John Smith completed the Cal Poly men’s basketball coaching staff for the 2023-24 season Monday with the announcement that Jamal Smith has been promoted to an assistant coaching role while Adam Helmer arrives as the program’s director of operations.

The son of John SmithJamal Smith served as Cal Poly’s director of operations last year after occupying the same position with Montana State during the 2021-22 season. He also played under Smith as a graduate guard with Cal Poly (2019-20) and while his father was the associate head coach at Cal State Fullerton (2015-19).

“Needless to say, I’m really excited about Jamal’s addition to our staff. He showed his ability to multitask last year, handling our director of operations position and stepping in to an assistant coaching position following some unforeseen circumstances,” Smith said. “Our players naturally gravitated toward him and his presence was felt immediately. His previous experience with Montana State and playing overseas has prepared him for this. He’s a tireless worker, a detailed skill developer and a natural connector. His IQ and knowledge of the game should help our point guards a great deal. We feel he’s just scratched the surface of how impactful he will be as we move forward.”

Helmer arrives at Cal Poly following a two-year stint as a scout with Nashville-based Allegiant Athletics Agency. With Allegiant, Helmer scouted high school, NCAA, NBA and international games, providing reports on player capabilities and skill breakdowns, identifying high potential NBA prospects and targeting franchise personnel needs.

“Adam has been with us for only a week and has already made a positive impact on our program. He’ll be a tremendous asset to our staff,” Smith said. “Adam brings a level of professionalism from his background as an operations director and video coordinator with the Golden State Warriors and their G League affiliate. He’s a self-starter and a relentless worker – two traits that equate to success. We’re extremely excited to have him.”

Jamal Smith (Assistant Coach)
As Cal Poly’s director of operations for the 2022-23 season, Smith was tasked with mentoring the program’s point guards in addition to travel management and arrangement, practice scheduling and supervision of support staff, including managers.

With Montana State during the 2021-22 season, Smith handled scouting and film work, player development, travel coordination and financial reporting. Working with the program’s point guards, Smith helped Montana State to the 2022 Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament titles and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 26 years.

Transferring to Cal Poly for his 2019-20 graduate season, Smith started in 22 of 30 appearances and averaged 6.7 points per game. He then signed with Armenia Basketball League A club Vahakni City for the 2020-21 season before accepting Montana State’s operations position.

Graduating from Cal State Fullerton in May 2019 with a kinesiology degree, Smith appeared in all 34 games for the Titans during the 2018-19 season and averaged 19.1 minutes per outing for a squad that finished second in the Big West standings and reached the conference tournament championship game for a second straight season. He scored in all but eight games during his final year as a Titan.

Smith appeared in all 32 games with 18 starts for the 2017-18 Cal State Fullerton squad that captured the Big West Tournament title and faced Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Adam Helmer (Director of Operations)
Helmer, in addition to scout work with Allegiant Athletics Agency, concurrently served as a volunteer coach with Prolific Prep Academy (Napa, Calif.), helping one of the nation’s top-ranked high school programs with on-court skill development and consulting on best practices for staff and opponent strategy.

Prior to his time with Allegiant – where he helped identity under-the-radar targets such as 6-7 Georgetown guard Kaiden Rice, the program’s single season leader for three-pointers – Helmer served as the manager of operations and head of video analytics with the NBA G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors, assisting the organization to the 2019 Western Conference Finals. Promoted to he manager of operations for the 2019-20 season, Helmer’s focus shifted to coordinating team travel and helping to identify potential signings and trade options.

As part of the larger Golden State Warriors franchise, Helmer assisted in the organization’s draft rooms in 2019 and 2020, producing video breakdowns of top prospects – including draftees Jordan Poole and James Wiseman.

Helmer graduated from San Diego State in 2018 after serving the Aztecs as a graduate manager and graduate assistant. Introducing advanced analytics to the program, Helmer helped the program to a 2018 NCAA Tournament appearance.

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