NBA community reacts to Unseld Jr.'s hiring as Wizards head coach
On Saturday, the Wizards named Wes Unseld Jr. the 25th head coach in franchise history. Unseld Jr. began his coaching career as an assistant with the Wizards in 2005 after eight seasons with the team as a scout. He then went on to hold assistant coaching roles with the Warriors, Magic and, most recently, the Nuggets. As a DMV-native and son of Bullets legend Wes Unseld Sr., the hiring of Unseld Jr. made waves across the NBA landscape as soon as it was announced.
General Manager Tommy Sheppard and his team were very thorough during our search and the intelligence, information and recommendations gathered on Wes were exceeded by how impressive his preparation and planning were during the interview process.— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) July 17, 2021
Wes Unseld Jr. will be the new Wizards coach, per @wojespn. His father was also a head coach with the franchise when they were the Bullets.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 17, 2021
The Unselds would be the 2nd father-son duo to be head coaches for the same franchise, joining Flip & Ryan Saunders with the Timberwolves. pic.twitter.com/fxVVDSblJv
If Wes Unseld Jr. ends up being the Wizards' new coach, a year after the death of his father & Bullets HOFer, it would be cool but definitely not a solely nostalgic hire. Wes has earned a shot, paying his dues as an assistant in DC, GSW, ORL & DEN. He knows this franchise/city— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 15, 2021
Wes Unseld, Jr., earned his opportunity through more than a decade’s work as a pro scout and assistant coach, most recently in Denver. But there’s no question he’s a sentimental favorite for many in the organization as well, given the continued love & respect for his late father.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) July 16, 2021
This is a major homecoming for Unseld, of course, whose father Wes Sr. is the most significant figure in franchise history. But this is a big deal for the Wiz, too. To have a home-grown product of DMV basketball royalty sign on is meaningful, imo. Haven't had that in a long time.— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) July 16, 2021
Wes Unseld isn’t just a notable name for the Wizards. Worked as an advance scout for them from 1997 to 2005 and put him his time as an assistant coach for 16 years — 2005-11 with the Wizards, 2011-12 with the Warriors, 2012-15 with the Magic and 2015-21 with the Nuggets.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 16, 2021
Love this so much.— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) July 17, 2021
Unseld Jr. comes to D.C. after spending the last six seasons in Denver, including a season as the team’s associate head coach during the 2020-21 season. In his time with the Nuggets, Unseld Jr. developed a widespread reputation as one of the premier assistant coaches in the NBA. In the Wizards’ announcement of the hiring, general manager Tommy Sheppard said of Unseld Jr.: “His strong record as an in-game tactician along with his attention to detail on both sides of the ball combined with his reputation for player development and outstanding character during his 20+ years of coaching left no doubt that he was the best choice to guide our team to the next level.”
The announcement that he’d been hired as Washington’s next head coach garnered immediate praise and support out of Denver.
You got a great head coach, DC! Congratulations— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 17, 2021
Jamal Murray, a big fan of new Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr, via IG. pic.twitter.com/wMG4XVyxEE— Mike Singer (@msinger) July 17, 2021
During his time in Denver Wes Unseld Jr. gave a brief look into his coaching philosophy. Video provided by Altitude Sports and Entertainment. pic.twitter.com/iqj9vfTlvz— Chris Miller (@cmillsnbcs) July 17, 2021
In addition to his work with the Wizards in the late 90s, Unseld Jr. spent time on the Mystics staff in 1998.
Congratulations to the new @WashWizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr.— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) July 17, 2021
As a former Mystics advance scout and as an assistant coach during the 1998 season, we are excited to welcome Coach Unseld back to @MSE #TogetherDC #DCAboveAll https://t.co/q06BrvJVR8
Unseld Jr.’s ties to the DMV date even further back than his time with the Wizards and Mystics. He played college basketball at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, played high school basketball at Loyola High School in Towson, Md. and grew up in Catonsville, Md.