PHOENIX SUNS

Suns center Alan Williams: ‘Means everything’ to play for favorite childhood team

Mar 25, 2016, 7:41 AM

Houston Rockets’ Alan Williams shoots over Milwaukee Bucks’ Micheal Eric during the first half of...

Houston Rockets’ Alan Williams shoots over Milwaukee Bucks’ Micheal Eric during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(AP Photo/John Locher)

LISTEN: Alan Williams, Suns center

He’s only played two minutes this season, but Alan Williams seems to be loving life with his favorite childhood team.

“It means everything,” Williams said on Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Growing up here and being from here, being a Suns fan growing up, understanding what it means to wear the Phoenix on the front of your jersey and then my last name on the back.”

It took a while for Williams to get to this point, but no one can doubt his ability to put up the numbers necessary in order to garner attention.

After graduating from North High School and being named All-Arizona as a senior, Williams went on to dominate at UC Santa Barbara.

He averaged at least 17 points and 10 rebounds per game in his final three seasons in California, earning some NBA Draft buzz as a possible second-round pick in 2015.

Like many prospects slated to go anywhere in the second round, Williams went undrafted. So, his next step was to try to make a team in the NBA’s Summer League.

Despite once again building up buzz by playing well — he earned All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors — Williams didn’t get signed by an NBA team and ultimately signed a one-year deal to play in China.

“Felt like it was the right thing for me to do,” Williams said. “It would have given me the best opportunity to expand my game, grow my game and really have an opportunity to come somewhere and play right away.”

As you would guess by now, Williams thrived again. He averaged 20.8 points and a league-leading 15.4 rebounds per game for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association.

“Went out there and learned what it took to be a professional, what the work ethic was like, a lot of the travel schedule kind of things that you would get from playing on a professional level,” Williams said.

The production finally paid off for Williams, who signed a 10-day contract with the Suns on March 8.

The funny part of the story is that Williams wound up not getting a chance with the Suns to do what he had been doing the past five years: putting up big numbers. He did not appear in a game until March 17, when he scored one point and grabbed one steal in two minutes against the Utah Jazz.

The aforementioned lack of playing time, however, didn’t stop the Suns from signing Williams to a multi-year contract the next day.

The 23-year-old now waits for those minutes and if his basketball journey has proved anything at this point, it’s that he will take advantage of the opportunity once he gets it.

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