Remember this morning when I told you about 66ers Nation's Kevin Henry? I'd like to welcome his as part of the RU family. Here's his first of what I hope to be many contributions to Ridiculous Upside. For a bit of a backstory on Latavious Williams, check out the last two times I've talked about him (here and here) as well as Jon's introductory story on Williams (here). Also, if you'd like more contributions from Henry (who also writes for the Tulsa World and thus is way better at this stuff from myself), leave a comment.
With the D-League All-Star break now upon us, it seemed to be the right time to sit down and talk to Tulsa's Latavious Williams about his first season in the D-League so far. Williams topped off the first half of the D-League campaign with a six-point, 12-rebound performance in a 102-90 victory for Tulsa at Los Angeles. He now has double-digit rebounds in three of his last four games, and has four double-doubles on the season, with an 18-point, 18-rebound performance against Iowa on Jan. 28 as his high point of the season to this point.
Henry: Your numbers, both rebounding and minutes played, have gone up dramatically over the last few games. Are you starting to truly feel comfortable in the D-League?
Williams: I'm starting to play like I was in high school. I like playing in the low spot and doing the little stuff. When I'm in there, I want to do everything I can. It's nice to be able to get those second-chance points off rebounds. It's been nice getting more minutes lately. I want to take advantage of it while I'm there. I think I've adapted, and I think I'm getting better. I'm getting along well with the other guys on the team.
Henry: Is there a secret to rebounding as far as you're concerned?
Williams: I just crash the boards. I go in there and get what I can get.
Henry: A lot was made about you being the first D-League player drafted out of high school when the 66ers took you in the first round. Do you wish you could just play basketball and not have the extra attention?
Williams: I don't think about any of that. I just play. When I get on the court, none of that is on my mind.
Henry: Head coach Nate Tibbetts has been very complementary of your work ethic in practice. What do you think you've improved the most in practice this year?
Williams: It's been great working out with our coaches. I think I've gotten better in the low spot. I still want to work on being a better post player and work on my outside game.
Henry: Looking back, are you glad you entered the D-League draft?
Williams: Yeah. It's been a great learning experience. It's been hard, and it's been a new experience for me. I just want to get in there and play. I feel like I've been ready to play since the start of the season, but I've learned a lot as the season has gone on.
Henry: While you've had some great rebounding efforts, have you been disappointed you haven't scored more this season?
Williams: Nah, right now, I want to block the shots and get the rebounds. I know the scoring will take care of itself.
Henry: Now you and your team are at the All-Star break. Are you looking ahead to the second half at all right now?
Williams: I'm not looking ahead to anything except the next game (Tulsa hosts Maine on Feb. 18).