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November 28, 2014

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high school basketball:

Former NBA player named next coach at Findlay Prep

Pilots assistant Jerome Williams will take over while fellow assistant Andy Johnson will become associate head coach

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Steve Marcus

Findlay Prep’s Winston Shepard covers former NBA player Jerome “Junkyard” Williams during practice at the Henderson International School campus Monday, March 26 2012.

Jerome Williams

New York Knicks' Jerome Williams puts up a shot against New Orleans Hornets' P. J. Brown during the first quarter Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Hornets won 88-82. Launch slideshow »

Findlay Prep assistant coach and former NBA player Jerome Williams will take over the Pilots program, the team announced Tuesday. The move has been expected since former coach Todd Simon left the high school basketball national powerhouse in July to become an assistant at UNLV.

“I’m blessed and honored to be the next head coach of this elite program,” Williams said in a statement. “I thank the Findlay Education Foundation and Henderson International for allowing me to step into the shoes of Todd Simon and Michael Peck on a quest to win another National Championship and produce productive college scholarship student athletes.”

In a corresponding move, assistant Andy Johnson was promoted to program director and associate head coach. Johnson, a former UNLV student manager, has been an assistant since 2009. Williams has also been involved with the program since 2009, but last season was his first as an assistant. He previously filled various roles in player development.

Findlay Prep’s national prominence has never been higher as former Pilot and Rebel Anthony Bennett was taken No. 1 overall in June’s NBA draft. He joins Avery Bradley, new teammate Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and DeAndre Liggins as former Pilots taken in the draft.

All of the current players, including UNLV target Rashad Vaughn, are expected to remain with the team. That’s not surprising as many made their transfer decisions after Simon made his decision. Assistants Michael Smalley and Brett Price will also stay with the team.

Nicknamed the Junkyard Dog, Williams played nine seasons in the NBA for four different teams. His best season was for the Toronto Raptors in 2002-03, when he played in 71 games, including 63 starts, and averaged 9.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Findlay Prep is coming off a 35-1 year that included a perfect regular season. Over the last six seasons the Pilots went 192-9 with three National High School Invitational titles.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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