Marlon “Smoke” Williamson was introduced as a new Pitt assistant coach yesterday.
“We are excited about Marlon becoming a member of the University of Pittsburgh community and I know he is ecstatic to be coming aboard,” Dixon said. “As a former point guard with strong knowledge of the game, Marlon will help us in recruiting, scouting and player development. We are fortunate to have a coach with his well-rounded background. Marlon is also extremely excited to be a part of our staff considering his family ties to Pittsburgh.”
The former YSU point guard is openly ambitious and perhaps a little cocky.
“Actually, my pursuit is to become a great assistant coach right now. In the future, I want to become a head coach,” Williamson said. “When you say ‘great assistant,’ you have to fill a lot of bullets. Recruiting is definitely one, but I don’t want to be singled out as just a recruiter. I can get in the film room and break down Xs and Os. The relationship with the players is a huge factor for you as a coach. It’s much easier to play for someone you respect and love versus someone you just play for. That’s what I want to strive for as a professional in this business, being able to relate to the coach, co-workers on the staff, as well as the players and their parents.”
So, like [UMass Coach Derek] Kellogg before him, Williamson made a move to put his career in an upward trajectory.
“This is a big step,” he said. “When you talk about the University of Pittsburgh and ACC, you’ve got to go get players first. Our position as assistants is to put Coach Dixon in a position to be great. I look at coach Dixon as a legend. I don’t think he hired Coach Knight or Coach Barton to be mediocre. We want to give him the tools that he can go coach those guys. Our goal is to win the last game. Why not us?”
These are not bad things for a young assistant.
One other thing to note from his official bio. Even though he played four years at YSU he didn’t complete his degree at that time. Williamson, however, did go back and complete it in 2012. Another sign that he is serious about his ambitions to become a head coach. It is a little thing. But as Steve Masiello learned, it can become a huge barrier to a better job and the subsequent mess hurts the reputation.
The hiring of Williamson also means that Coach Dixon has effectively elevated Brandin Knight to the top assistant position. I guess now it’s just a matter of time before John Calipari poaches him.
2016 commit Maverick Rowan completed his play at the Adidas EuroCamp.
The U.S. team played three games and lost all three by an average of 78 points. It wasn’t a surprise because the team played against older international players, including some who could be selected by NBA teams.
“I learned to play overseas, you have to be a lot more physical,” Rowan said. “There is just more physicality compared to the NBA.”
Really? More physical than the NBA?
“You watch LeBron James. He gets touched, he flops and gets a foul called,” Rowan said. “The competition over there was just a lot more physical. Like, when they set screens, they move a little on the screen and bump you harder. And if you went to the hoop, you weren’t getting a call.”
Overall, Rowan said it was “a great experience.” He believes he played against “five or six NBA draft picks.”
Rowan was not close to the main attraction on the US team. In fact, his selection was something of a surprise. At the same time, as noted by the scores, not many of the US players were overly impressive — including Thon Maker. Rowan did make an impression with his shooting.
Class of 2016 Pittsburgh commit Maverick Rowan was the least highly touted recruit here outside of Danta Hales, but held his own. A 6’7 shooter who can also put the ball on the floor and create his own shot a bit, Rowan has a picturesque shooting stroke and nice size for a wing. He may not be a great athlete, but he plays within himself and should give Jamie Dixon’s Panthers an efficient scoring option on the wing down the road.
Also one of the younger players on the squad, so to have a shot that already looks so good is the sort of thing that should make Pitt fans smile.