Nick Van Exel joins Milwaukee Bucks as assistant coach

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The life of current Milwaukee Bucks Assistant Coach Nick Van Exel changed drastically when he was picked in the second round of the 1993 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. The path there was long and at times, bumpy.

Van Exel came to a fork in the road and took the right path, he says because of the game that molded and shaped his life on and off the court.

From 1987 - 1989 the 6'1" guard starred at St. Joseph High School in Kenosha. The All-State performer played college ball at Trinity Valley Community College and the University of Cincinnati, where he became a third team All-American.

During those days, Van Exel's tough exterior and at times, belligerent behavior hid a soft and caring heart.

Van Exel played 13 years in the NBA, and averaged almost 14-and-a-half points and over six assists per game.

As his stature grew on the court, Van Exel matured.

However, Van Exel has endured hardship and heartache. He lost his mother in 2006, and in 2010, his son Nickey was convicted by a Dallas jury of murdering a friend in 2010.

The elder Van Exel apologized to the family of the victim, and he maintains his son shot the friend by accident.

22-year-old Nickey Van Exel was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Van Exel says he couldn't be happier to be a Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach, and says he brings an ability to relate to the young players.

Through all of his trials and tribulations, Van Exel has found a semblance of peace, and an understanding that using his position to help others as a player had far more lasting value than the fame and fortune.