The Wizards have found their man.
The team has hired former Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. as the team’s next head coach, bringing the DMV-native back to his roots, the team announced.
Unseld Jr. was an assistant for the Denver Nuggets since 2015, his fourth stop as an assistant coach. He previously made stops with the Wizards (2005-2011), Warriors (2011-2012) and Magic (2012-2015).
He, of course, is the son of Wizards legend Wes Unseld Sr., who passed away last June and is the most decorated player in franchise history. As a member of the Bullets from 1968-1981, Unseld Sr. led the franchise to its only championship in 1978. He was the league’s MVP in 1969 and was a five-time NBA All-Star. Unseld Sr. was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988 and was the franchise’s coach from 1987 to 1994.
His No. 41 is memorialized on a banner in the rafters at Capital One Arena, above the floor where his son will be the 25th head coach in franchise history.
“Wes is one of the most highly-regarded assistant coaches in the NBA and clearly separated himself from the large and diverse group of candidates we considered,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “His strong record as an in-game tactician along with his attention to detail on both sides of the ball combined with his reputation for player development and outstanding character during his 20+ years of coaching left no doubt that he was the best choice to guide our team to the next level.”
Unseld Jr. will join a Wizards squad looking to improve on defense, but also looking to ensure their young talent is able to flourish and develop.
“I want to thank Tommy and Mr. (Ted) Leonsis for the opportunity to lead this talented team both on and off the court and to continue moving the franchise in a positive direction,” Unseld Jr. said in the statement.
“Becoming a head coach in the NBA is a goal that I have pursued my entire adult life and to have that dream realized by coming full circle back to Washington is truly special. I look forward to representing the DMV, connecting with our fans and establishing a new standard for Wizards basketball.”
Unseld Jr. played his college ball at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and his high school ball at Loyola High School in Towson, Md.