Willie Green is close to becoming the New Orleans Pelicans’ next head coach. And according to his fellow Detroit Mercy Titan, Earl Cureton, he’s the perfect fit.
Woodward Sports caught up with Cureton after news broke of Green’s potential new job. As mentioned, both Green and Cureton are legends at the University of Detroit-Mercy. During their playing days at Callahan Hall, both made such an impact that their jerseys are hanging from the rafters.
“I think that’s great. I think Willy’s really paid his dues. And he had a great career,” said Cureton.
“I think he played somewhere around 14 years in the league, and he was an assistant. [Willie] has probably seen every level of NBA play that you can see as a player and from a culture standpoint.”
“Being at Golden State, and winning a couple of championships there and learning from some of the best players in a game, [creating] relationships and, how highly Chris Paul speaks of him right now with Phoenix and taking that job. And he’s back in the finals again. I mean, I can’t think of a better pick that you can go after [having] a guy like that with that much experience. I know he hasn’t had head coaching experience, but I think he’s ready to take that next step.”
And Earl Cureton is right. Green has the pedigree.
Since starting his coaching career, Green’s has great fortune. He’s been on the sidelines as an assistant in four of the past five NBA Finals.
Additionally, he’s learned from “players’ coaches,” Steve Kerr, and now Monty Williams. Being a former NBA player himself, Cureton feels that will give Green a better shot at connecting with the Pelicans’ locker room, unlike former coach Stan Van Gundy.
“Willie is at great communicating and great in the locker room. [He] did it as a player, and [he’s] done it as a coach. And he can relate to the younger generation, as well as some of the veterans,” said Cureton. “That is a true pro itself.”
“And I think players have a tendency to respect the guy who has already done it. He did it for a long period of time. [His] communication skills are at a high level. I think he’s going to bringing lots to the table.”
In addition to his coaching experience, Green is a former 12-year NBA veteran.
The New Orleans Pelicans have yet to announce Willie Green as the next head coach formally. And it might not happen for a couple of days. Despite the possible delay, Green’s current focus is helping lead the Phoenix Suns to their first NBA Championship.
The Suns and Bucks are now tied 2-2 in the Finals after a Wednesday night loss in Milwaukee.
While Green looks to land his third ring as an assistant, Cureton states the Titan family is already proud of him.
“Willie Green is just going to represent our University and make it look that much better in the situation,” said Cureton.
“He’s already done that, but he’s going to add to it with this [Pelicans] head coaching job.”
Follow Kory Woods at KoryEWoods on Twitter.
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