Phoenix Suns Announce Coaching Staff
The Phoenix Suns today announced Head Coach Igor Kokoškov’s coaching staff, naming Joe Prunty, Corliss Williamson, Jamelle McMillan and Jason Staudt assistant coaches, Cody Toppert director of player development and Devin Smith player development coach.
“Proudly, I would like to announce the Suns’ coaching staff is complete,” said Kokoškov. “Our main criteria was to find high character people who will bring positive energy and enthusiasm to the team day in and day out. I strongly believe that we have extraordinary teachers of the game who are capable of helping our talented team grow. As a staff we believe that we control our own preparation, so we will give our best to prepare ourselves and our team to play on the highest possible level, one game at a time.”
Bringing 22 years of experience in the NBA to Phoenix, Prunty joins the Suns after most recently working as interim head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Prunty went 21-16 over the final 37 games of the season at the helm of the Bucks before pushing the Celtics to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. He began 2017-18 as an assistant coach, his fourth season with Milwaukee which also included 17 games as interim head coach in 2015-16.
Prior to his time with the Bucks, Prunty served as an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets (2013-14), Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013), Portland Trail Blazers (2008-2010), Dallas Mavericks (2005-2008) and San Antonio Spurs (2000-2005). He began his NBA career as assistant video coordinator with San Antonio in 1996, then served as video coordinator from 1997-2002 and advance scout from 2002-2005, adding assistant coach duties in 2000. Prunty’s teams have qualified for the playoffs 17 times in his 22 NBA seasons and he has won three NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005) on the staff of the Spurs, in addition to advancing to the NBA Finals with the Mavericks in 2006. In 2005, Prunty and Kokoškov were on opposite benches in the NBA Finals when Kokoškov was on the Detroit Pistons’ coaching staff.
Prunty spent four years as head coach of Great Britain’s national team from 2013-2017, qualifying for EuroBasket in 2013 and 2017. Before his start in the NBA, Prunty coached on the high school level in San Diego for four years. The Sunnyvale, California, native played collegiately at De Anza College and is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Williamson joins the Suns following two seasons as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic (2016-2018), and he has also worked three seasons as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings (2013-2016). Before joining the NBA coaching ranks, Williamson was head coach at the University of Central Arkansas for three seasons from 2010-2013. His coaching career began with three years at Arkansas Baptist College, the first two as an assistant before serving as head coach during the 2009-10 season.
A 12-year NBA veteran as a player, “Big Nasty” averaged 11.1 points on 49.0 percent shooting plus 3.9 rebounds in 822 career games with Sacramento (1995-2000; 2005-2007), the Toronto Raptors (2000-01), Detroit (2001-2004) and the Philadelphia 76ers (2004-05). In 2003-04, Kokoškov was an assistant coach on Hall of Famer Larry Brown’s coaching staff in Detroit while Williamson averaged 9.5 points on 50.5 percent shooting to help the Pistons win the 2004 NBA Championship. Over the 12 seasons that comprised Williamson’s career, no NBA player totaled more points when coming off the bench and he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award with the Pistons in 2001-02.
Prior to being selected with the 13th overall pick by the Kings in 1995, Williamson had a legendary three-year career at the University of Arkansas, who have since retired his No. 34. The Most Outstanding Player of the 1994 Final Four after leading the Razorbacks to their only NCAA basketball title, Williamson also led Arkansas to an NCAA tournament runner-up finish in 1995 and was a three-time First Team All-SEC selection and two-time SEC Player of the Year. A native of Russellville, Arkansas, Williamson was the 1992 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a senior at Russellville High School.
McMillan joins the Suns following six seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans (2012-2018), serving as one of the NBA’s youngest assistant coaches in his final two seasons with the Pelicans. The 29-year-old began with the Pelicans (then the Hornets) as a coaching intern in 2012 before working as a player development coach with the team for three seasons from 2013-2016. While a member of Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff, McMillan served as the Pelicans’ head coach at NBA Summer League 2017 in Las Vegas.
A graduate of Arizona State University, McMillan played four seasons for the Sun Devils from 2007-2011 and his 80 wins remain tied for the most by any four-year player in program history. A floor leader all four years and member of ASU’s 2009 NCAA tournament team, he averaged 5.1 points and 2.6 assists for his career, including bests of 7.2 points and 3.9 assists as a senior captain in 2010-11 when his 2.68 assist-to-turnover ratio led the Pac-10. Following his time at ASU, McMillan spent one season at Drake University (2011-12) as director of basketball operations before moving to New Orleans in 2012.
Born and raised in Seattle, McMillan is the son of current Indiana Pacers head coach and former Seattle SuperSonics point guard Nate McMillan. In 2008, the younger McMillan spent 16 days in China with his father, who was serving as an assistant coach for the 2008 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team that went 8-0 to win gold in Beijing.
Staudt joins the Suns after most recently spending the 2017-18 season as Orlando’s pro personnel scout. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in various positions with five different NBA teams. Prior to his most recent tenure with the Magic, Staudt served as advance scout for Portland (2016-17) and the Houston Rockets (2012-2016). He spent seven seasons as video coordinator for Milwaukee from 2005-2012, which followed a brief stretch as an advance scout for Cleveland. Staudt began his NBA career as an intern with the Magic in 2001, elevating to video coordinator and advance scout in three seasons during his first tenure with Orlando before spending one season as an assistant coach with the Idaho Stampede (2004-05), then of the CBA.
In addition to his NBA experience, Staudt served as an assistant coach on Kokoškov’s staff with Georgia’s national team from 2008-2015. With Staudt working alongside Kokoškov on the Georgian bench, the nation qualified for EuroBasket three times, something Georgia had never accomplished previously.
A native of Lamesa, Texas, Staudt is a graduate of Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech he was a manager for the basketball team and was part of the 1995-96 Red Raiders squad that went a school record 30-2 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Toppert remains in the Suns organization after spending the 2017-18 season as head coach of the team’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns. Under Toppert, the NAZ Suns led the G League with five GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, in addition to leading the league in three-point makes, ranking second in scoring and winning a team-record 23 games.
Prior to becoming NAZ’s head coach, Toppert spent two seasons as an assistant coach with Houston’s G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2015-2017). The Vipers earned a NBA Development League runner-up finish in 2017 as the team led the league in scoring and field goal percentage with Toppert at the head of the offense. In his first season, the Vipers finished second in the D-League in scoring and advanced to the playoffs. Toppert also aided RGV’s parent club during his time with the Vipers, working on scouting projects and serving as an assistant coach for the Rockets at NBA Summer League 2016 in Las Vegas.
A native of Albuquerque, Toppert played collegiately at Cornell University where he left in 2005 ranked ninth on the Big Red’s all-time scoring list and second in three-point makes. After playing one season in the NBA D-League and helping his hometown Albuquerque Thunderbirds win the 2006 NBA D-League Championship, Toppert spent seven years playing internationally with clubs in New Zealand, Portugal, Bulgaria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain, in addition to one season in the CBA.
Smith joins the coaching ranks following a decorated playing career overseas, spending his final six seasons with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv where he played a key role in the club’s 2014 EuroLeague Championship. An All-EuroLeague Second Team selection in 2014-15, he helped Maccabi to two Israeli League titles, six Israeli Cups and the 2012 Adriatic League crown, in addition to the 2014 EuroLeague title. Smith retired in 2017, leaving Maccabi ranked ninth in club history in scoring in European competitions with 1,539 points, and he was inducted into Maccabi’s Hall of Fame earlier this year. Smith was a teammate of Suns forward Dragan Bender with Maccabi for the 2015-16 season.
After not being selected in the 2005 NBA Draft, Smith began his professional career with San Sebastián Gipuzkoa in Spain (2005-2007), and then played with Scandone Avellino in Italy (2007-08), Fenerbahçe Istanbul in Turkey (2008-09), Panellinios Athens in Greece (2009-10) and Benetton Treviso in Italy (2010-11) before signing with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2011. He was named to the 2009-10 All-EuroCup First Team after leading Panellinios to the semifinals and repeated as an All-EuroCup First Team selection with Benetton in 2010-11. In 2008, he helped Avellino capture the Italian Cup.
A native of New Castle, Delaware, Smith began his collegiate playing career at Coffeyville Community College before transferring to the University of Virginia where he played three seasons. Smith was the Cavaliers’ leading scorer as a senior in 2004-05, averaging 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds.
The Suns have also added Alex Zampier as head video coordinator and retained Brandon Rosenthal as assistant video coordinator.
Zampier spent last season working in video for the Jazz, alongside Kokoškov, which followed one year with the Spurs. A former Second Team All-Ivy selection at Yale University and the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in steals, he played professionally for the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the NBA D-League in 2010-11 and internationally in Argentina and Canada in 2012-13. A high school standout in baseball and basketball from East Greenbush, New York, Zampier spent two years working for the Tampa Bay Rays prior to his time in the NBA.
Rosenthal spent last season as an assistant video coordinator with the Suns after working as an assistant coach with the NAZ Suns in 2016-17. The Tucson native joined the Suns organization after spending 2015-16 in the Rockets’ video department, which followed eight years working at the collegiate level in basketball operations and coaching at Santa Clara University, St. Edward’s University and St. John Fisher College.