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Feb. 21, 2018MARYVILLE, Mo.

Williams builds coaching career through NBA organization

(Photo credit: Memphis Hustle)

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Former Northwest Missouri State guard Bryston Williams can watch Bearcat basketball and know that he was in on the foundation of something special being built as Ben McCollum arrived as the head coach.

As a freshman during the 2009-2010 season, Williams was on the floor for McCollum's first game at the helm. He was also there cutting down the nets as the team won its first conference championship under new leadership, and the program began to transform into a force in the MIAA.

"It's a great feeling to know that I was part of it and the start of it," Williams said of his time with Bearcat basketball, "and I'm proud of the coaching staff, because they're the ones that helped me get to where I'm at now."

Williams is carrying the lessons he learned as a Bearcat into his own coaching career.

After playing at Northwest and serving as a graduate assistant, the St. Joseph native now finds himself working as the player development coach for the Memphis Hustle -- the Memphis Grizzlies affiliate in the NBA G-League.

He credits McCollum for the chance to work in the Grizzlies organization.

"He's the biggest reason for where I'm at," Williams said. "He had the connections. He was calling around for me when I was getting done with my GA years. Someone he knew, Matt Woodley which was at Truman State when I played, Coach Mac contacted him and kind of sold me. It went from there."

McCollum believes Williams' work ethic sets him apart, along with the success he's earned every step of the way.

"The thing that he can bring at any level is he knows how to win," McCollum said. "And he understands what needs to be done to win. If he can do that at that level, I think they're going to have some success."

And Williams is soaking in everything he can while spending time around the Grizzlies.

"It's unbelievable. It is. To see the talent and be around those guys and see how they work, the work they put in. That's one of the biggest things I'm learning also is how some of these players, the Marc Gasol's, the Mike Conley's and these guys are where they are. And it's because they put in the work."

Williams will continue to put in work as well to build on his coaching career, whether that sends him further into the NBA, or back around the college game.

"I really love what I do," Williams said. "I love the game of basketball. I just want to be somewhere where I can enjoy my time with the people I'm around -- the coaching staff, the players. Whoever wants to give me that opportunity I'll look into it and go from there."