Former Arizona Wildcats big man Sean Rooks has been hired by the Phoenix Suns as a player development coach, The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro reports. The need comes at an important time for the Suns, who with a young roster need NBA experience -- and a big body -- to help on and off the court.
Said Rooks to Coro:
"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."
He's not the only big name on the player development staff that Phoenix has made sure to build this offseason. Hall of Famer Ralph Sampson joined the Suns as well. Former NBA backup guard Lindsey Hunter and big man Mark West lead the group charged with helping Phoenix's younger players on the court.
Rooks' basketball career was one of an odd curve. He played four years under Lute Olson at Arizona, his numbers improving a little each season. By his senior year in the 1991-92 season, he was averaging 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. That translated to the NBA, where the 30th overall draft pick had his best season in the league as a rookie, averaging 13.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and an assist per game.
The numbers dropped each season from then on, but Rooks played 12 years in the NBA, the most of which as a fringe rotation player.
The 43-year-old left the NBA in 2004, and he's since filled coaching staff holes in the D-League with the Bakersfield Jam, the now-defunct New Mexico Thunderbirds and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.