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Will Coach Shelden Williams Become NBA G League’s Next Rising Star?

A collegiate star turned humble NBA role player, BayHawks assistant coach Shelden Williams could be a great mentor for young G League athletes.

Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NBA veteran Shelden Williams was named an assistant coach for the Erie BayHawks’ new-look staff for the upcoming season on Tuesday. Currently affiliated with the Atlanta Hawks, the former big man will return to familiar stomping grounds of sorts, having been drafted by Atlanta and starting his playing days there.

Drafted fifth overall in the 2006 NBA Draft, Williams had the makings of a potential star following a promising collegiate career at Duke. Though he never quite reached such heights, he parlayed defensive know-how, endless hustle, and sound fundamentals into a respectable six year career. He also played three more overseas, coming to understand the international grind following the conclusion of one’s time in the NBA. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.4 rebounds, holding his own as a dependable role player despite battling injuries throughout.

He may have stopped hitting the hardwood following the 2014-15 season, but Williams hasn’t been one to simply fade off into the greener pastures of early retirement. Instead, he’s tapped into his high basketball IQ and explored alternative paths, earning clout as a pro scout for the Brooklyn Nets.

Now, he’ll take the next step of an already impressive career.

The BayHawks are getting a well traveled and highly respected person around NBA circles. People appreciate Williams’ commitment and perseverance to the game. He was a favorite teammate of many, whether that meant serving as an eagerly learning youngster, or a mentoring vet willing to take time out of his day to guide others. Williams played both roles over his transitioning career. His migration to scouting not only displayed that he had an interest in seeing the game in a different light, but that he also had the chops for it as well.

Williams didn’t have things handed to him over the course of his career, and the hunger he demonstrated along the way will be something the Hawks’ organization surely hopes he passes on to the next generation of athletes, especially as it relates to G League players. Still just 34 years old, Williams will not only serve as a hub of knowledge, but can also still muscle up against youngsters in practice to show them what matching up to an NBA experienced body is all about.

This NBA vet provides so much value right off the bat. He’s also on the right track in his career. Given his credentials thus far, Williams has all the makings of a future coaching star. He’s not above using the G League as his springboard, so perhaps he can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jerry Stackhouse, Nick Van Exel, James Posey, Luke Walton and Vin Baker — all well known big league commodities who stopped in the minor league to catapult the next stage of their (off the court) careers in the NBA.