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My Story: Will Kimble


When Jean Prioleau was hired as the head coach of the Spartan men’s basketball program, one of the first things he was tasked with was assembling a coaching staff. Knowing how important it would be to have someone on staff that is familiar with the area, one of the first names he went after was Will Kimble, an up and coming assistant coach at UC Riverside.

“It has to do with the locale at the job that you take,” Prioleau said on why he went after Kimble. “We are in California. San Jose is in Northern California and I needed California guys on my staff. Will is well-known in California, knows a lot of people and has really helped us close out a lot of guys in the state recently. He also has connections outside of the state too, and I’ve actually tried to push him to broaden his horizons in the recruiting world to try to reach outside of California, because we are going to have to do that here. That’s what I wanted in an assistant coach and that’s what I went after and got.”

Kimble joined the program with Prioleau at the start of the 2017-18 season and has just wrapped up his second season as an assistant on Prioleau’s staff. Tasked with coaching the bigs (forwards and centers), Kimble has thrived in his role because he has first-hand experience at what it takes to play the position. He started his college career as a center at Pepperdine where he led the team to the NIT in his first year and the NCAA Tournament in his second.

“I think he’s done a great job at developing and working the guys out,” Prioleau said. “He shows them different paths in terms of what they need to be looking for during the game and runs individual workouts to help them become better players. He really just helps them mentally as well, because he was a big guy in college, so I think that helps as well.”

Understandably when a new coach and coaching staff are brought in there are some kinks to work out at the beginning, but Prioleau feels that Kimble is the type of person that was able to grasp the system early on and help make the transition as smooth as possible.

“A large part of it was just getting used to the system,” Prioleau said. “Every assistant coach has a system or a way they’d like to do things when they become a head coach. Some assistants go around to different programs and bounce around, and don’t know or haven’t absorbed all the information that they needed to going from one coach to another, but I think Will has grasped what we are trying to do and that’s a sign that he knows where we are trying to go with this program. He also has his own thoughts on that as well and brings good thoughts to the table.

“I think the first year everyone was just learning me,” Prioleau continued. “What I want, what I’m trying to do, and what we are trying to do as a whole. I think Will has done a great job of trying to be the best that he can be for me and the program.”

After two years as Prioleau’s lead assistant, Kimble will be tasked with an even bigger role moving forward as he has taken over the role of lead recruiter. He has done well in that role so far, landing two important 2019 recruits in the span of just a few days in forwards Eduardo Lane and Ralph Agee. Both players will join fellow recruits Omari Moore and Richard Washington in heading to campus in June.

“He’s taken on some more responsibilities in scheduling and recruiting. He’s really spearheaded the recruiting,” Prioleau said. “The last two years, I’ve kind of let everyone get involved with recruiting and have a say, but now he’s really taken control of it and has a say, and he’s going to be the head guy in terms of recruiting – who we are going for and where we need to go see them and stuff like that. Obviously I have enough confidence in him for him to be able to do that, and he’s earned that right.”

Overall, Prioleau is very pleased with the work that Kimble has put in in his two-plus years with the program. His work ethic, natural ability to form relationships with players and ability to develop players on and off the court leads Prioleau to believe that Kimble is well on his way to becoming a head coach in the near future.

“Will has done a great job for us,” Prioleau said. “A lot of people don’t realize the things that he does. He’s got a great relationship with the players and understands the x’s and o’s of the game as well as the flow of the game, which helps me out a lot. I’m really pleased with his development. I want to develop him to become a head coach one day. He has the capability of doing that. I think all assistants aspire to do that, and I want that for all of my assistants. I think Will has tried to embrace all the qualities that it takes to try to be a head coach.”

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