GRAND RAPIDS - The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has agreed to a two-year extension with the Grand Rapids Drive as the team’s G League affiliate. The team also announced that Rex Walters has been named as a Pistons assistant coach and Rob Werdann as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive. Per team policy, terms of agreements were not disclosed.
“We’re pleased to announce the addition of Rex Walters to our Pistons staff and to name Rob Werdann as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive,” said Stan Van Gundy, president of basketball operations and head coach of the Detroit Pistons. Rex brings great basketball knowledge and experience and does a great job of developing young players. We were very happy with the way he worked with our young Pistons players last season when they were on assignment in Grand Rapids. Rob has a great deal of coaching and scouting experience in the NBA and knows our organization’s culture and philosophy. We believe he will be a great asset to the Drive.”
Walters spent last season as head coach of the Drive where he led the team to a 26-24 (.520) record. Prior to Grand Rapids, he spent eight seasons as head coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of San Francisco where he guided the Dons to two 20-win seasons and two postseason appearances. USF finished in the top three of the West Coast Conference twice during his tenure, including 2013-14, when they tied for second with a 13-5 conference mark. During the 2013-14 season, the team finished with a 21-12 record, tied for second in the WCC with a 13-5 mark and earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. The 21 victories marked the Dons’ highest win total since the 1981-82 team posted a 25-6 record while their 13 conference victories were the most since the 1976-77 team went 14-0 in league play while spending most of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Walters, a native of Omaha, NE., was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2013-14, becoming the first USF coach to win the award since Pete Barry in 1980-81. He amassed a 126-125 record at USF. Prior to becoming head coach at USF, he served two seasons (2006-08) as head coach at Florida Atlantic University and posted a 31-33 record. Overall, Walters is 157-158 (.498) as a collegiate head coach.
Drafted 16th overall in the 1993 NBA Draft by New Jersey, Walters played seven seasons with the Nets, Philadelphia and Miami. He averaged 4.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 335 career NBA games. He also played professionally overseas in the Spanish League following his NBA playing career.
A standout player at the collegiate level, Walters began his college career at Northwestern University where he was an honorable mention All-Big 10 selection in 1989-90 as a sophomore after he led the team in scoring (17.6 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (.473) and assists (125). He then transferred to the University of Kansas where he led the Jayhawks to back-to-back Big Eight titles (1991-92; 92-93) and one Final Four appearance in 1993. As a junior, Walters averaged 16.0 points per game in helping Kansas to a 27-5 overall mark as the Jayhawks were ranked as high as second in the nation in the final AP poll. He averaged 15.3 points a game as a senior and Kansas advanced to the Final Four, where they lost to North Carolina in the semifinals. A two-time All-Big Eight selection, Walters started 60-of-61 games and averaged 15.7 points a game and shot 40.2 percent from three-point range during his two-year career at Kansas. He was named the Big Eight’s Male Athlete of the Year in 1993.
Werdann spent the last three seasons as a pro scout for the Pistons after spending the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA G League.
The Queens, NY native was named as assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2011 after serving the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. Prior to the Warriors, Werdann was an assistant coach with the New Orleans Hornets in 2009-10 after five seasons as the Hornets’ advance scout. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA then spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Columbus Riverdragons of the NBA G League. He’s also had a coaching stint in Puerto Rico.
The 46th overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, Werdann played three seasons in the NBA with Denver and the New Jersey Nets. Collegiately, he played four seasons (1988-92) at St. John’s University where he ranks as the team’s all-time leader in blocks (188). While at St. John’s, Werdann made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and helped his team to a Big East Championship and the NCAA Regional Finals in his junior year (1990-91).
Werdann was heavily recruited out of high school at Archbishop Molly High School in New York City where he earned McDonald’s High School All-American honors as a senior.
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