The Phoenix Suns are retaining Earl Watson as head coach for next season.
Watson, who graduated from Washington High School, was named interim coach after former Iowa State star Jeff Hornacek was fired on Feb. 1.
The team went 9-24 under Watson, finishing the season with the second-worst record in franchise history. But Watson has said he was told he would not be judged on wins and losses because of the injury-depleted roster he inherited but on other factors, including how hard the team played.
In a news release announcing the decision to keep Watson, Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough praised the coach’s “natural leadership qualities and ability to connect with and motivate” the Suns players.
Watson, 36, played in the NBA for 13 seasons. He is the league’s youngest coach.