Though the players are generally supposed to be the highlight of the pre-draft workouts, a couple of fresh faces caught the attention of Milwaukee Bucks media members Wednesday morning.
Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Bob Bender and Player Development Instructor Nick Van Exel were at the Cousins Center today, helping new head coach Larry Drew orchestrate the first pre-draft workout under the new regime. Though nothing has been confirmed yet, both are likely to be added to Drew’s staff soon.
Bender was an assistant coach with the Hawks these past two seasons. He served as an assistant with the Sixers from 2004-2011 and was an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke from 1983-1989.
Van Exel, a Kenosha native, spent 13 seasons in the NBA Spurs, Blazers, Warriors, Nuggets, Mavericks, and Lakers. After serving as an assistant at Texas Southern University, he joined the Hawks staff in 2010 and has been with the team since.
Their first workout in Milwaukee appeared to be a great success, so says Director of Scouting Billy McKinney.
“They did a great job. Coming in to a new situation, knowing what we’re trying to look for from the players, conducting a new routine is important for our players.” [There were] great teaching points that these guys made today, talking to the players about the importance of the attention to detail. It’s the little things in a basketball game that helps you win games and be successful.”
Bender and Van Exel are likely to be reunited with Hawks assistant Lester Conner as well. There hasn’t been any word on when the staff will officially be set by Drew, but it appears that the first few slots are being filled.
There will be plenty of vacancies to be occupied, as Bucks assistants Joe Wolf, Bill Peterson, Sidney Moncrief, Chris Gilmartin, and Anthony Goldwire have all been notified that their contracts will not be renewed under the new leadership.