EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Monty Williams leads Suns’ pre-draft workouts, impresses prospects

May 30, 2019, 3:59 PM | Updated: May 31, 2019, 9:11 am
Phoenix Suns new NBA basketball head coach Monty Williams speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, May...

Phoenix Suns new NBA basketball head coach Monty Williams speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

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.”

Penguin Air

Empire of the Suns

Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference...
Kellan Olson

Ish Wainright returns to Phoenix Suns on 2-way contract, per report

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a two-way contract with forward Ish Wainright, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
5 days ago
(Twitter photo/@KellanOlson)...
Kellan Olson

Cam Johnson’s connection to Valley strengthens with 3-on-3 tournament

The Phoenix Suns' Cam Johnson can confidently call the Valley his second home and keeps finding ways to connect to the community.
9 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after hitting a three-point shot against the New Orl...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ Cam Johnson hears trade rumors, focused on offseason growth

Phoenix Suns wing Cam Johnson hears the noise of trade rumors this summer and understands the business side of the NBA.
9 days ago
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the second half of the Eastern Conference 2022...
Kellan Olson

Will Phoenix Suns abandon team-building principles to land Kevin Durant?

The Phoenix Suns must decide how badly they want Kevin Durant and how long they are willing to wait to make it happen.
11 days ago
Tyson Carter #11 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled as he drives to the basket by Craig Sword #32 of the...
Kellan Olson

Summer Suns wrap up play in Las Vegas with win over Pacers

Phoenix Suns basketball came to a close this summer with an 84-69 win in Summer League play over the Indiana Pacers.
22 days ago
Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled by Quenton Jackson #3 of the Washington Wizards dur...
Kellan Olson

Summer Suns fall to Kings; Ish Wainright’s future in Phoenix

The Phoenix Suns' second-to-last Summer League game was an 82-69 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
24 days ago
Monty Williams leads Suns’ pre-draft workouts, impresses prospects