Most Australians involved in basketball consider their ultimate professional dream as progressing their way to a playing gig in the NBA and following in the footsteps of the likes of Luc Longley and Andrew Bogut. Of course, thinking outside the box is often the key in life and aspiring to make it to a professional basketball job in the States can be achieved in other ways.
Shenton Wai, a face and name that would be recognised by the more astute fans of the (now dormant) Sydney Kings, is one such example of an Aussie following that dream. Wai, originally from Victoria, was an assistant coach and advance talent scout for the Kings from 2001-04 (being involved in two NBL titles) before going onto working in the team’s marketing department and ultimately acting as a marketing and communications executive for the NBL from 2004-08.
Presumably using a Brett Brown connection, Wai has just completed a one-year internship with the San Antonio Spurs working in basketball operations. That NBA experience has led to him yesterday being announced as the team operations coordinator for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
UTSA mens’ basketball head coach welcomed the Aussie into the program. “I’m excited to announce the addition of Shenton to our staff,” Thompson said. “With his experience at the professional level in Australia and most recently with the Spurs, he will be a valuable asset to our program as we look to continue last season’s success.”
The work he took on with the Spurs sounds like pretty interesting stuff for a basketball junkie — the type of thing that many of us try to emulate in our recreational activities as fantasy basketball GMs:
“While with the NBA franchise, Wai scouted, built and maintained the 2009 draft prospect and free agent DVD library for NCAA, NBDL and international players. Wai also coordinated travel for draft workouts, mini camps, training camps and open gym summer workouts, as well as assisting in the day-to-day operations of the front office.”
All manner of congratulations to Shenton — hopefully we will see you at the helm of an NBA franchise in the near future. When that happens, feel free to get in contact with me, I’m sure I can drop whatever I’m doing to come and join you with a role at the franchise!