From ASU to the NBA, Jamelle McMillan enjoying role with Pelicans
Then again, would you expect anything less from the son of a coach?
McMillan, who along with Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks won a school-record 80 games in their four years at ASU (2007-11), is entering his second season in the NBA.
Following a year with Drake University as director of basketball operations, McMillan joined New Orleans as a coaching intern.
It was an "open role," according to McMillan, who said he tried to get his "hands on a lot of different areas" like breaking down video, working out players and even some scouting.
Now, "I do player development work," he said. "I'll be working guys out for the most part" with a seat "behind the bench full-time."
He'll be the second McMillan on an NBA bench. His father, Nate, is back in the league as the lead assistant in Indiana on Frank Vogel's staff.
"Thankfully, he's on the East so I'll only see him twice (a year)," Jamelle said smiling.
The two have always been close and will continue to be close, though the younger McMillan said he now must be careful what he says to his dad.
"I try to trick him a little bit and pry some information from him as well," he said. "It's general concepts. It's things around the league, trends around the league, players; different styles and stuff like that. It's very casual conversation. It will get pretty personal here pretty soon, I'm pretty sure."
While at ASU, it was never a question of if, but in what capacity McMillan would continue his involvement in basketball, be it at the college level or in the pros.
"I've always said a GM role and that's still is the ultimate goal, but since I've been thrown in the coaching side of things, I'm having a great time. I love it," he said.
"Being in it at 24 years old is probably unheard of in a lot of cases; just trying to take each day, day-by-day: assistant, head (coach) and then we'll see what happens from there. I look forward to working each and every day and trying to get to that head position."
Coaching may be in his blood, but does the former Sun Devil team captain and owner of the 10th-best three-point shooting percentage (37.3) in school history miss playing?
"No," McMillan deadpanned. "I get to do it every day in working guys out and in that aspect of it; it's a lot of fun. But everything that went into it -- and what all these guys now go through as far as the injuries and the day-to-day grind and everything that goes into it, my body, the way that it held up at Arizona State, it's definitely a little bit smoother being in a suit and tie.
"I get out there and I have my moments. I'll be able to talk my smack a little bit with our guys and play around, but I had a great time, a great career. I was very proud of what I was able to do. I'm excited about what I'm doing now."
Craig Grialou, Reporter
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