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UNLV to hire Portland State assistant basketball coach

UNLV is hiring Portland State assistant men’s basketball coach Jamaal Williams to the same position, thereby completing its coaching staff after the departure of all three assistants, people familiar with the situation told the Review-Journal on Monday.

A formal announcement is expected this week.

Williams and fellow assistants John Cooper and Barret Peery comprise a new staff for coach Kevin Kruger and the Rebels, who travel next week to Vancouver for an exhibition tour. Former UNLV assistants Carlin Hartman (Florida) and Tim Buckley (South Carolina) departed in April, and Brandon Chappell left last month for Texas.

Kruger said last week he was searching for “a good guy that’s high energy that the guys like. A good teacher and somebody that’s going to encourage the guys to want to be around here.

“I thought Brandon did a good job of that, and I’m sure that the next person who steps in will do the same.”

Williams, 39, played college basketball at New Mexico and Washington, averaging 13.8 points and 4.7 rebounds as a senior in 2005-06 for the Huskies. He settled in Seattle after professional stints in Italy, France, Iceland, Argentina, Israel and the Philippines — emerging as one of the most influential coaches in Washington’s prep basketball scene.

While in Seattle, Williams won five high school state championships at Garfield and Nathan Hale as an assistant under former Washington teammate Brandon Roy. He also coached from 2017 to 2021 in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League with Seattle Rotary, the state’s top club basketball program.

Players Williams coached included 2022 No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Paolo Banchero, 2020 first-round pick Jaden McDaniels and 2018 lottery pick Michael Porter Jr.

Williams comes to UNLV after one year at Portland State, where Peery was the head coach from 2017 to 2021.

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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