Gates' Work Ethic Impressed Williams
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

June 30, 2010
No matter how early Monty Williams arrived at the Rose Garden or ARCO Arena prior to games last season between the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings, he noticed that there was always an opposing assistant coach already there working with his players Bryan Gates.

After spending over a decade toiling in basketballs minor leagues, Gates earned his first NBA assistant-coaching gig in Sacramento in 2009-10. Although Gates didnt realize it at the time, the extensive hours he set aside last season to drill and instruct the Kings large group of young players was impressive to Williams. Prior to his NBA coaching debut, Gates had already shown an ability to effectively work with unfinished products, having twice been named the D-Leagues Coach of the Year with the Idaho Stampede. Gates had also coached in various other basketball circuits, such as the IBA, CBL and USBL. Those experiences were all plusses on Gates resume when he interviewed for an assistant coaching job in New Orleans.

One of the things (Williams) really wants to do here is develop the young guys, Gates said of the Hornets, whose improvement in 2010-11 could be partly based on the continued development of one-year NBA veterans Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton. You have two All-Stars here in Chris Paul and David West, but you also have some young guys that you want to see keep doing well. In the D-League, we had so many guys who were so close (to making the NBA), but the key was to keep them hungry and keep them motivated.

Given the number of years Gates spent in basketballs bush leagues where coaches sometimes also must handle thankless tasks such as doing the teams laundry carving out a few extra hours before games to work with young NBA players is a treat by comparison.

I love it, Gates said of the enjoyment hes gotten from coaching and working in basketball for more than a decade, including 12 years in Idaho alone. Im ready for training camp about 48 hours after the season ends.

No matter where youre coaching, its still basketball, and all of the stuff (related to coaching) is still the same. My roots are (in the minor leagues), but youre really appreciative of how were treated here (in the NBA).

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