Wes Unseld Jr.'S Defense Is Reminding Anthony Gill of His Virginia Days

Unseld Jr.'s defense is reminding Anthony Gill of UVA originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Defense and attention to detail have been two calling cards so far of Wes Unseld Jr.'s brief tenure as head coach of the Washington Wizards. Unseld Jr. said the team began training camp with about an 80% emphasis on that end of the floor and his detail-oriented process has been noted by several players.

All of it has reminded second-year forward Anthony Gill of another coach from his past: University of Virginia's Tony Bennett. Gill spent four years with Bennett in Charlottesville before playing overseas and now in the NBA.

Bennett is known as one of the best defensive coaches in college and Gill sees some parallels between him and Unseld Jr.

"Coach [Unseld Jr.] actually takes the time and he teaches every single thing. Some coaches just kind of breeze through the little details. From my experience coming from UVA, Coach Bennett was one of those guys where details really mattered. I can see that same resemblance with Coach Wes as well. We focus in on each and every individual detail, which allows us to be more confident in the game," Gill said.

Gill also outlined another similarity between the two. Both Bennett and Unseld Jr. have supreme confidence in their system and playbook, knowing it has been successful in the past.

Head coaches have to adapt to personnel and matchups, but Unseld Jr.'s strong belief in what he knows works has stood out to Gill.

"He sticks to his guns. Of course, he makes adjustments throughout the games and throughout practice. But really the thing is, even when I look at Coach Bennett, it’s the same thing every year. People get really tired of seeing that same UVA, boring defense. But it’s a similar situation here, even if people come and they bash what he’s trying to do or whatever it may be, he sticks to his guns," Gill explained. 

"He may make a little bit of an adjustment, but it’s always the same principles. That’s really what I respect the most, he has those defensive principles and we’re going to stick to them. Throughout my career, I feel like that’s really a sign of a great coach, a great program, a great organization is someone who really sticks to their guns."

When it comes to Unseld Jr.'s attention to detail, Gill offered an example of the coach rebounding for Jay Huff after a recent practice. After Tuesday's shootaround, Unseld Jr. was working closely with Jaime Echenique on positioning in the post.

The Wizards believe both Echenique and Huff have bright futures, but they are also likely to spend most of this season playing in the G-League for the Capital City Go-Go. Unseld Jr. giving them individual instruction is not something all head coaches might choose to do.

"[Huff] doesn’t know where he’s going to be this coming year, but that’s the kind of guy coach Wes is. He’s going to be out there helping every single person, regardless of their status," Gill said. "That’s the one thing I respect the most about him. He comes in every single day and he treats everybody the same. Brad [Beal] is not seen as any higher as a person than Jay Huff or myself or anybody on the team."

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