Amidst the intense atmosphere at the Idaho Stampede's open tryout inside a local Boys and Girls Club in Boise, Idaho, stood a 15-year NBA veteran coaching from the sideline in the late morning's final run of 5-on-5 games.
Scott Williams could be heard from across the gym barking out advice as the D-League hopefuls that day ran up and down the court, advice that the players were willing to absorb without any hesitation. When you are a three-time NBA champion like Williams, your credibility is unquestioned in a basketball gym. The amount of respect that the players showed towards Williams and the entire coaching staff that day spoke volumes as to where the D-League is heading in terms of developing players for the NBA.
As head coach Michael Peck put the 20 or so tryout attendees through a practice regiment of drills and simulated games, the players from varied backgrounds had the opportunity to work side by side with Williams, a unique opportunity for guys who were probably playing noon ball in a local gym just weeks prior. Williams, who was a key piece for the Chicago Bulls during their championship run from 1990-1993, has surely seen it all when it comes to basketball. A former journeyman like himself knows what it takes to earn minutes at the NBA level.
At this particular tryout for the Stampede, a familiar face to the Stampede organization was in attendance. Reggie Larry, a former player at Boise State University, played for the Stampede last season and averaged 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 45 games.
A favorite with the local Stampede fans, Larry's game is one that could benefit from a coach like Williams who knows how to succeed at the little things out on the court. With Williams' potential guidance, Larry could implement those "little things" into his game and better his chances at not only succeeding for the Stampede, but possibly help get him noticed at the next level.
As the NBA Development League continues to grow, former NBA veteran players utilizing their NBA experiences in regard to their coaching, is becoming an integral part of the development process for teams and players around the league. Their valuable firsthand knowledge of the game will help shape the league's players, helping them get ready for a call-up---not only with regard to their game, but from a mental aspect as well.