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May 4, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Chillious anxious to get started

Washington’s newest assistant, Raphael Chillious, is expected to begin work this week.
If it’s up to him, it’ll be tomorrow, the day he and his family will make the move up from Beaverton, Ore., where he has worked for Nike the last couple years.
“I’ll be in the office Tuesday afternoon, though I may have to see what my wife says,” he said with a laugh. “If not, I’ll be there Wednesday.”
Either way, this is the week Chillious will officially become a Husky, a moment he says he has been anticipating for a long time.
Chillious says there weren’t a lot of jobs he was willing to take to leave his position with Nike as the business manager for the company’s Elite Youth Basketball unit. In that role, Chillious helped organize and run camps and clinics in this country and internationally as well as the Nike Hoop Summit (the yearly tournament in Portland) and skill academies.
“My job was to know every good player in this country and abroad,” he said.
That’s knowledge that figures to come in handy now that he’s an assistant coach for the Huskies, taking over for Cameron Dollar, who was known for his recruiting prowess.
“It really helps knowing not just the players but the people who always have the good players,” Chillious said.
Chillious was a guard at Lafayette College, where he graduated in 1996. It was around that time that he first got to know Lorenzo Romar. Chillious was in Los Angeles playing in the LA Summer League and used to work out at Pepperdine, where Romar was then the coach. The two had in common a relationship with Adrian Branch, a former player at Maryland and with the Lakers.
Chillious said he and Romar “definitely hit it off” from the moment they first met with shared interests in basketball and religion.
The two stayed in further contact through the years when future Huskies Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning played at South Kent (Ct.) School, where Chillious coached from 2003-08.
Chillious said he enjoyed his work at Nike but that the offer from Romar was too good to pass up.
“To tell the truth, Lorenzo is one of but a handful of guys I could see myself working for,” he said. “Because my value systems and what I believe in to be successful as a coach basically mirror Lorenzo’s.”
“He called me at the right time,” he said. “And it doesn’t hurt that I walk in and know two of the players very personally because they played for me, and that I’ve gotten to know a lot of guys on the team since I’ve been close to the program since those guys played there.”
In fact, Bryan-Amaning spent Christmas with Chillious and his family in Beaverton, and he got to know Abdul Gaddy when Gaddy went through some of the Nike youth programs.
Chillious was a guard at Lafayette and will work with the guards at UW. He points not only to his work with Thomas at South Kent but also the likes of Dorell Wright, now with the Miami Heat, and Jack McClinton of the University of Miami as examples of what he can do.
Chillious grew up just outside of Silver Springs, Md., where he said basketball was a way of life. “From the time I was in middle school, every coach I had said I would be a good coach someday because I think I always prided myself on knowing the game better than I could play the game sometimes,” he said. “You always think you are going to be a player your whole life. But as soon as I finished playing I got right into coaching. It seemed to be a natural fit.”
Among his stops was a year as an assistant at the University of Victoria where he got a little taste of living in the Northwest. He got more the last couple years working at Nike, and now intends to call this home for a while.
“My philosophy as a coach fits right in with (Romar’s),” he said. “We always wanted to pressure guys defensively. When I coached, our defense was our best offense. And we wanted our defense to kick in our running game. So it definitely mirrors a lot of what we do at Washington.”

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