Following a playing career that lasted nearly a decade and a half (and included stints overseas, NBA, and even the D-League), Zendon Hamilton knew full well he wanted to stay involved in the game of basketball.
Showing interest and dedication early on, Hamilton turned up at various coaching clinics of sorts, taking advantage of opportunities at the D-League National Tryout and the P.IT.
After a busy offseason in 2013, Hamilton's hard work paid off as the Idaho Stampede hired him as an assistant coach. The former NBA big man helped the team to a five-game improvement from the season prior. What's more, the presence of a former player undoubtedly benefited Idaho's bevy of young guns who were on the outside looking in.
This past season, the Stampede were affiliated with the Portland Trail Blazers, but going forward, will be entered into a single hybrid affiliation with the Utah Jazz. As a result, a new coaching staff will be hired, meaning Hamilton is in search of another job.
So, the process starts all over again for the 39 year old. Showing interest, dedication, and moving moves during a busy summer offseason are all things that happen to be on his plate yet again. A journeyman over the course of his playing career, Hamilton knows who it means to truly be on a grind. A hard-worker, he's learned from his experiences, and now, enjoys sharing such knowledge with the next generation of the game.
But most of all, Hamilton loves basketball. It's a way of life for the former big man. He loves the game and simply wants to be around it. The dedication he's shown recently to honing his coaching craft only further proves that.
Plenty of D-League coaches have turned up at NBA Summer League hoping to network for future jobs. Hamilton was actually able to find work for the summer session, utilizing a connection he made during his playing days. Serving as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Pelicans, Hamilton joined those other assistants currently on Monty Williams' staff, Williams was an assistant coach of Hamilton's during his playing career.
Upon receiving Williams' offer, Hamilton was eager to head out to Las Vegas and get started. He told RidiculousUpside.com that being able to progress and move up in the coaching game gives him the same joy and excitement as playing did. He just loves the game and those around it.
As fate would have it, the Stampede aren't the only team looking to put a new staff in place. There are currently nine teams (a source tells RidiculousUpside.com that a tenth team will also be looking for a new head coach) head coaching vacancies in the D-League. Could his storied career and recent work in the coaching world qualify Hamilton for those openings? Perhaps, but the big man assets that he simply wants to keep working and stay in the game any way possible.
Either way, each of those staffs will need to be filled. Retaining Hamilton's services could help any number of teams in a variety of ways.
As someone who loves the game as much as Hamilton, he certainly isn't picking. Despite a heavy work load in Sin City this week, Hamilton could also still be found hitting the hardwood, rebounding the ball in his slippers, for Anthony Davis following one of the Pelicans' games this week.
Hamilton has to plenty to offer young players, The experience he gained resulted in him learning even more along the way, proving that he could help such youngsters learn from his successes and even his failures over the years. The connections he's made surely aid him as well, largely in part due to the fact that those around Hamilton can appreciate his effort over the years. His dedication is evident.
Discussing his desire and his relentless effort, Hamilton cited the likes of James Posey and Sean Rooks as fellow former work horses (as players) who climbed up the NBA ladder in similar fashion. Ironically enough, both Posey and Rooks have put in the effort on the coaching front as of late. Like Hamilton, both former players served as NBADL assistants this past year.
Hamilton came up as a player and learned from those around him. As he became older, he acted as a mentor of sorts to those on similar paths years later. Looking for some guidance as a new coach, Hamilton leaned on fellow St. John's University alum Rob Werdann in Idaho.
The veteran asserts that he continues to learn new and different things everywhere he goes. The player turned coach learns more by being in the video-room and taking in film. What's more, he has a new prospective on the game after sitting in on coaches' meetings. That's what keeps the game so interesting for him. Surely enough, he could continue to rely such knowledge to young players who hope to have similar success breaking into The Association.