In hiring Shammond Williams as Tulane’s newest assistant basketball coach, coach Ed Conroy has offered a warning to his players about their daily preparedness.
“I’d tell them to look out, because your coach may be able to beat you to the basket,” Conroy said. “There’s no doubt we’re going to get him on the floor and have him add that extra dimension to our practices. He can still play and I think it’ll be a great way to show some of our guys what it’s like to play with someone who knows exactly what he’s doing on the floor.”
The 38-year-old Williams comes to Tulane after a one-year assistant coaching stint at Furman following 13 years in professional basketball and a high-profile college career at North Carolina. He bounced around seven different NBA rosters from 1998 through 2007, including some time with the New Orleans Hornets, before concluding his playing days in Europe in 2011.
But he may be most remembered for helping guide the Tar Heels to three Final Four appearances (1995, 1997 and 1998) under coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge.
“Shammond is someone who I’ve known for close to 20 years going all the way to be us both being in Greenville, S.C., when he was in high school,” Conroy said. “I know what kind of person he is and you can see what kind of player he was. He’s always approached the game as if he was the coach and I’m so excited to work him now.”
Williams was nearly on his way back to North Carolina, as a finalist for an assistant coaching position under Roy Williams prior to last season, but instead the Tar Heels chose fellow alum Hubert Davis. Shammond Williams then landed at Furman, but was let go when Paladins coach Jeff Jackson was forced to resign in March, leaving him open for Tulane to nab.
Now, Conroy wants to utilize all of Williams’ on-court experience and global connections in improving Tulane’s basketball program as it replaces Doug Novak, who left the Green Wave’s bench to take the head coaching position at Division III Bethel College.
“I think (Williams) has incredible recruiting ties, and he’s been all over the place in his playing career,” Conroy said. “And he has great energy to get out and try to make people better. There’s an instant respect he commands, amongst not only our current players but also our recruits.”
His presence will be felt most immediately by the seven incoming freshmen joining the program this summer, as Williams introduces them to the college game by simulating some of the game’s most difficult transitions in practice.
“I think that’s actually really key because we have so many young guys and everybody learns differently and they all have different styles,” Conroy said. “Some guys can pick it up off the grease-board or video or if you just tell them, but some other guys need to go out there and feel it. Now we have another way to teach some of these guys and convey what we want them to learn at pretty close to game speed.”
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