Celtics news: The longtime link between Al Horford and Robert Williams
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The longtime link between Celtics big men Al Horford and Robert Williams

Al Horford, Robert Williams, Celtics

The Boston Celtics selected Texas A&M big man Robert Williams with the 27th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and Williams will be joining a talented frontcourt led by All-Star Al Horford. While this will be the first time Horford and Williams play together, the two share a longtime link: Ron Meikle.

Meikle spent a lengthy amount of time working in the NBA as a scout, including a stint with the Atlanta Hawks that ended in 2012-13. During his time in Atlanta, Meikel helped push the Hawks into drafting Horford over Yi Jianlian with the No. 3 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

After leaving the Hawks, Meikel got a job coaching North Caddo High School in Louisiana. The rising star at North Caddo? That’s right, Robert Williams.

Meikel helped mold Williams into the player he is today, even using Horford as an example of the hard work that is necessary to make it to the league and succeed, according to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.

“And I’d say, ‘Robert, Al Horford didn’t learn it all in one day,’ ” Meikle said. “He had to work at it. He had to practice. He had to do individual work and then eventually he would gain that confidence that would allow him to do it in a game. I wanted him to understand that Al brought it every day, every practice.”

Meikle knows Horford will be a good mentor for Williams, and the rookie is already learning from the veteran.

“Al has a routine, and I feel like he doesn’t give up on it, even in the offseason,” Williams said. “He has this constant pattern he lives by, and obviously it’s made him successful in the NBA so it’s a great opportunity to follow him.”

Horford is 32 years old and exiting his prime, so the Celtics are hoping Williams can be their next great big man. If that happens, Meikle will have had a hand in guiding two important Celtics.