Former NBA guard Kerry Kittles is joining the coaching ranks as he will sit on Princeton’s bench in an assistant’s role next season. The eight-year vet had previously served on the President’s Advisory Council as an ambassador for his alma mater Villanova University. This is his first coaching job.

Kittles had an outstanding college career and was named Big East Player of the Year for the ’94-95 season. His 2,243 points are most in school history. Drafted No. 8 overall by the New Jersey Nets in ’96, Kittles suffered through an injury-riddled career but did play an important role on the ’01-02 and ’02-03 Nets teams that went to the Finals.

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Following his retirement after an eight-season professional career (interrupted by a sabbatical in 2000-01 due to knee surgery), Kittles earned an MBA at his undergraduate alma mater, Villanova, and then served in both the NBA league office in its “Corporate Crossover” program and on Villanova’s President’s Advisory Council before he caught the coaching bug.

 

“I’ve always thought I would eventually become a coach,” Kittles said. “I’ve always enjoyed helping young kids see the big picture in life. It’s not always about sports. Even in my days with the Nets, the younger guys that came in, I’ve always mentored them, and not just about how to earn more minutes on the team but also what are you doing with your time off the court.”

 

Kittles said he was further encouraged after reaching out to, among others, two of his former Nets coaches, John Calipari and Lawrence Frank, as well as general manager Rod Thorn.

 

“They told me: ‘It’s going to be a big learning curve. You’re going to have challenges as far as learning what it takes to motivate guys and learning what it takes to push their buttons. But overall you’re going to be a natural at it, and you’ll figure it all out,’” Kittles said.