God Shammgod Rumors
The “Shammgod.” It’s the holy grail of crossovers, a move so ruthless and lethal it has its own name. The name comes from God Shammgod, a point guard who played in college at Providence and briefly in the NBA for the Washington Wizards. He didn’t invent it, he just popularized it. It’s a move seen far more on the blacktop than on an NBA floor, but against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, Russell Westbrook unleashed one into a jumping no-look pass to set up a Steven Adams dunk, capping off a career night of passing in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 114-101 win. “Yeah, I tried it,” Westbrook said, laughing. “It worked.”
He first joined Cooley’s staff as an undergraduate assistant in 2012, but he is now a graduate assistant after recently receiving his degree. As he continues to gain experience on the sideline and help guards make huge strides, he’s being recognized as a coach with a lot of potential and the ability to help players better themselves on and off the court. “During my last year in China, I was kind of a player-coach and I had trained their National Team’s guards for the Olympics so that gave me my first taste of training players and coaching,” Shammgod said. “I decided to forgo the final year of my contract in China to come back to the United States and finish my degree. When I got drafted, I promised my mother I would finish my degree. So I decided to do that and when I returned to Providence, everyone embraced me so much. I started helping MarShon Brooks and some other guys work out. It was a great fit and it took off from there. That’s when I realized I wanted to coach.”
“The first person I ever trained in my life was Kobe Bryant,” Shammgod said with a laugh. “I was going into the 12th grade and he was in the 11th grade and we were at the ABCD Camp. We would get up early every day at the camp and I’d show him some dribbling moves and things like that. I’ve always liked to help other players and show them some things. That’s always been in me since day one, and I’ve kind of been training people my whole life without really knowing it.”
Shammgod had a short stint with the Washington Wizards during the 1997-98 season. He later went on to play professionally overseas. He decided to return to Providence and finish school while serving as a graduate assistant to the basketball team. Eighteen years after leaving college, he has earned his college degree.
This week, Shammgod, 38, is back in New York for the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden and back with the team he once starred for. He is again a student at Providence, but now he is an undergraduate assistant for the men’s basketball team, which won last year’s tournament. Shammgod attends practices and games and has earned praise from Coach Ed Cooley and the Friars players for his ability to teach and motivate. Because of N.C.A.A. rules, he is not allowed to be paid for his work and he cannot recruit players. But he views the role as an apprenticeship that will prepare him for his goal of becoming a college or N.B.A. coach.
Shammgod’s father planned to attend Providence’s game Thursday afternoon against St. John’s in the quarterfinals. He will also be in Providence on May 17, when his son is expected to receive an undergraduate degree in leadership development, 20 years after Shammgod first enrolled at the college as a McDonald’s all-American from La Salle Academy in Manhattan. “It will be a dream come true,” Shammgod said. “I’m just happy that I’m going to accomplish it.”