‘Unreal honor and opportunity’: Suns Monty Williams thankful for second run on Team USA coaching staff – The Arizona Republic

Monty Williams can finally talk about it.

The Suns head coach spoke with honor and humility about being selected to the Team USA coaching staff for a second time.

“It’s an unreal honor and opportunity to serve my country and be a part of USA Basketball,” Williams said. “To be asked to be back again is really cool because I’ve always felt like a lot of coaches, many coaches should get a chance to experience it. If I was asked again, I never wanted to take that chance from somebody else, but it’s too cool of an opportunity to turn down.”

When reports surfaced this month Williams was on the coaching staff of the men’s national team, he declined to comment on a couple of occasions, saying he was waiting on an official announcement from USA Basketball.

That came Monday morning.

So later Monday afternoon after the Suns (24-5) practiced before heading to Los Angeles for Tuesday’s game against the Lakers (16-15), Williams talked about the opportunity to be a part of Team USA again.

Team USA went 26-0 during Williams’ first run as an assistant (2013-16) under Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski. The men’s national team won gold at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Williams will now be part of a coaching staff led by Warriors coach Steve Kerr.  

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Gonzaga University coach Mark Few are assistants on the staff along with Williams from 2022-24.

“There is no question in my mind that this is an extremely experienced and talented coaching staff,” said Grant Hill in a news release, as the former Suns player replaced former Suns team owner Jerry Colangelo as Team USA managing director. “Steve now joins a list of coaching legends who have led USA men’s national teams to a remarkable legacy.” 

Team USA will compete for gold in the 2023 FIBA World Cup in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to represent our country as the head coach for the USA Basketball men’s national team,” said Kerr in a news release. “It’s a thrilling opportunity and I’m excited for the challenge.” 

An assistant for the 2020 national team that won Olympic gold in the 2021 Summer Games, Kerr contacted Williams about having him join as an assistant.

“When Steve first called me, I thought he was calling me about another issue or something with the (National Basketball Coaches Association),” Williams said. “And he asked me to be on the staff with him, I was blown away. I was literally blown away.”

Williams admitted his competitive side kicked in when initially taking the call, as he and Kerr are coaching the NBA’s top two teams.

That feeling quickly subsided into joy and appreciation.

“We’ve had some really emotional battles with him, really cool battles, but I was just humbled and honored that he would ask me to be on the staff,” Williams said. “Great chance for me to be around the best coaches and players again and learn.”

Williams said his family went “off the meter” with excitement when he told them the news.

Going to Paris sounds beyond good to them.

“It was like, ‘Can we go?,'” a smiling Williams said. “I’m so grateful, so blessed. I’m so grateful that God would allow me to have these chances and these opportunities and these experiences. I have no other way of explaining it.”

With Suns All-Star Devin Booker playing for Team USA in Tokyo, there’s also a good chance Williams will coach the Suns All-Star in international competition. 

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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