Phoenix Suns add Rooks, Hall-of-Famer Ralph Sampson to player development team

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Phoenix Suns have had difficulty in recent years developing their own young players. Sean Rooks and Ralph Sampson are the latest moves to rectify that situation.

We all know the Suns have not developed their own young players well in recent years.

Alando Tucker? No. Goran Dragic? No (he had to develop in Houston). Robin Lopez? Uh-uh. Earl Clark ... Gani Lawal ... and the list goes on.

Last year, the Suns signed former NBA guard Lindsey Hunter to lead their player-development staff, and brought in Mercury head coach Corey Gaines to help. This summer, they asked Mark West (still an executive with the Suns) to work with the Markieff Morris.

Now, they have brought in two more retired big men to help this month, beginning with Ralph Sampson.

"With the addition of Ralph, we now have a development staff of experienced NBA veterans who can help each player at every position on our roster, on and off the court," said Suns General Manager Lance Blanks. "We are excited to have a Hall of Famer and a person of Ralph's character and integrity around our players every day. Robert Sarver's commitment of resources will allow us to return this organization to elite status."

Sampson will work with the young players and travel with the team during the season, focusing mostly on post players.

"The opportunity to work with an organization like the Phoenix Suns was one I could not turn down," said Sampson. "This situation is the right fit for me because of the great people involved, the great location, and because I believe in the direction of the team. Robert Sarver, Lon Babby and Lance Blanks are building something special."

Paul Coro spoke with Sean Rooks, a long-time NBA big man, this week in San Diego.

The Suns released assistant coach Bill Cartwright after last season and sought a younger big man to bang in the post with Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris. Rooks, 43, is a willing teacher, having strived to get to an NBA bench after being a D-League assistant with Bakersfield, Calif; New Mexico and Sioux Falls, S.D.

"I've still got all of 270 (pounds) on me," Rooks said. "I can definitely lean on somebody.

"I'm just happy to be with the organization. It's nice to be back in Arizona. This has been what I've been working toward."

Yay for Robert Sarver investing in player development!

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