PHOENIX — You’re going to be hard-pressed to find anyone around the NBA that won’t glow when they talk about new Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams.
The same can be said for the people within the organization who are just getting to know him, and even players who are meeting him for the first time.
Thursday was the start of pre-draft workouts for the Suns, the first of a three-day stretch where they will see 36 players.
The one takeaway from the players was that Williams wasn’t only present for the workouts, he was leading them.
That’s not something you see at these things too often.
“All the other workouts you don’t really have the head coach there,” Boston College guard Ky Bowman said. “So him being able to run the workout is big for us.”
Players lit up when they were asked about Williams, clearly enjoying their time working with him.
There’s also the reputation Williams holds as a well-known NBA name.
“It’s kinda crazy. When he introduced himself I said, ‘I, I know who you are,’” Tennessee forward Grant Williams said. “‘I was a fan. I was keeping up with you.’”
But it wasn’t only Williams’ presence.
From what the prospects said, Williams didn’t just want the players to run through the drills and judge how they would do on their own. To no surprise, there was plenty of coaching done by Williams to help players learn and get better.
“He taught a lot,” St. John’s guard Justin Simon said. “About the spacing, communication and the little things.”
“He was very hands-on teaching. I loved it.”
“His energy,” Nevada wing Cody Martin said of what stood out about Williams. “He’s trying to fill us out, and at the same time, just letting us play and have fun.”
In what the Suns have brought up consistently this offseason about building up the culture of the organization, days like Thursday for future NBA players to have in the team’s building can go a long way.
“It showed that they care a lot,” Bowman said. “It showed that they care no matter if we get drafted by them or by another team, that they’re actually here for us to lead the way and help us in the league.
And most importantly, it reinforced the person and leader the Suns signed on with in Williams.
“That’s who he is naturally,” Martin said of Williams. “You can tell that’s what he loves to do and he wants to teach everyone and allow them and get the opportunity to learn, whether they play for this team or somewhere else.”