Former Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool said he was "upset," "in shock" and "taken aback completely" when the organization passed over him and instead hired Chris Finch last season to take over after the firing of Ryan Saunders.

Vanterpool, now an assistant with the Nets, spoke publicly about the situation for the first time to ESPN and said on the day Saunders was fired, Feb. 21, then-President Gersson Rosas told Vanterpool in the team's New York hotel he was not being promoted, even as an interim head coach, which is the usual protocol in the NBA for an associate head coach. The Wolves instead were hiring Finch, then with the Raptors, on a permanent basis and Vanterpool said Rosas never explained why Rosas didn't hire him.

"When I got to the room it was all on TV and social media. People were calling me for answers I didn't have," Vanterpool told ESPN. "I was still frustrated and angry. I was shocked. I didn't understand at all."

The truncated coaching search the Wolves had in hiring Finch just hours after firing Saunders drew heavy criticism from former players of Vanterpool like Portland's Damian Lillard and other coaches around the league to the point that the National Basketball Coaches Association released a statement denouncing the process for not seeming to include minority candidates.

"Explaining something to me would allow me to explain something to my family and people that care about me if I so chose," Vanterpool said. "Not telling me anything, when they asked what happened, I would look at them and say, 'I don't know.' That feeling of uncertainty when it comes down to communicating with the people that matter, it's tough to deal with."

At the time, Rosas, who was the first Latino NBA President, said the team had to act quickly to hire Finch in a competitive market and defended his record of diversity.

"There were other candidates, minority candidates we considered at this time," Rosas said then. "Unfortunately when you're in the middle of a season, you're really at the mercy of teams in terms of who can become available and who's not available. That was a challenge for us as we went through the process."

Vanterpool was in charge of the Wolves' defense, a unit that was 20th and 28th in efficiency in his two seasons. Vanterpool told ESPN he didn't speak out at the time because he thought commenting publicly might worsen the chances for other Black head coaching candidates. Last offseason, however, seven of eight head coaching vacancies went to Black coaches. Vanterpool still is searching for his first head coaching job in the NBA.

"I am still going to be a head coach one day," Vanterpool said. "I know I am. I'm qualified to do the job."