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Next Man Up: A Kendall Williams Story

The former Lobos star has received significant D-League interest

Here at Ridiculous Upside we try to promote D-League players and other high potential players, and Kendall Williams is the latter of the two.

During his high school days at Los Osos High School in California, Williams stood as one of the best players in Cali as he was named all-state and a two time all-CIF selection for the Grizzles. That great performance from Williams caught the attention from a multitude of college teams on the west coast. One of those squads included the UCLA Bruins. Before Williams was even able to finish his sophomore season, he was able to verbally commit to the UCLA Bruins.

However, the optimism surrounding Williams quickly took an unfortunate left turn before he was set to begin his senior season. In July 2009, UCLA pulled Williams’ scholarship due to how then-UCLA coach Ben Howland was concerned over his on-court behavior. While Williams was surprised by that unfortunate news, he didn’t allow the negativity to prevent him from continuing to shine where it really counts: on the court. During his senior season, Williams impressed as he averaged 22.4 points, 4.8 assists, 2.9 steals and 7.8 rebounds per game on 46% from the field.

While he was shining as a senior, Williams was still looking for a place to play after graduation. During that process, Williams visited elite programs like Clemson, Illinois and Marqutte. However, in March 2010 Williams decided he will play for the University of New Mexico, where he was going to be a Lobo.

In a recent interview with Ridiculous Upside, Williams described that decision to head to become a Lobo. “New Mexico at the time was a top-10 team, as well as being a program on the rise, so that is a main reason why I chose to go there.” Williams told Ridiculous Upside. “That on top of Coach Steve Alford and the rest of the staff, fans and total basketball atmosphere drew me to Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico.”

At New Mexico, Williams put up incredible numbers. As in his freshman year Williams played in 35 games and started 34, while averaging 30.5 minutes per game. Williams put up 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 45.7% from the field and a impressive 42.6% from three. Williams only continued to improve on a year-by-year basis to the point where he stood as an elite backcourt player as a senior.

During that final season, Williams averaged 16 points, 4.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game on 43% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc. That great play as a pushed Williams to being on the Mountain West All-Tournament squad. Following that season, Williams seemed to be on the verge of being a late 2nd round pick or just being an undrafted free agent signing. Unfortunately for Williams, he failed to get either and went overseas.

After going undrafted in 2014, Williams signed with the Victoria Libertas of the Lega Basket Serie A, where he averaged 5.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists on a below-average 34% from the field. Following that stint, Williams had a brief “cup of coffee” for Fileni Jesi where he only played nine games.

Following those stints overseas, Williams returned to North America where he signed with the London Lightning of the NBL Canada in September 2016. However, Williams had a quick change of mind during that off-season as he decided to enter that year’s NBA D-League Draft.

That decision seemed to pay off for Williams as the Raptors 905 selected Williams with their fourth round pick. In Mississauga, Williams reportedly looked very good in training camp and pre-season for the 905. However, Williams was unfortunately the last Raptors 905 players to get waived due to the team’s need for more depth in their front-court. After getting waived, Williams went back to New Mexico to sort out his options and talk to friends and family about his next move.

After laying low for a little more than three months , Williams is now ready to get back on the court in the NBA D-League. That return to the court may come soon, as sources close to Williams have told Ridiculous Upside that more than five D-League teams have shown interest in the 25-year-old guard. While that interest also comes from multiple squads overseas, Williams is reportedly focused on playing ball in North America.

While the NBA D-League is filled with solid guards, Williams should still be looked at as a solid signing for an NBADL squad. That’s due to Williams standing as a 6’4 guard that has a solid outside touch (shot 38% from the field in college), while also working as a facilitator. Those facilitating skills are shown by him averaging 4.5 assists per game while maintaining a 2.17 Ast/TO ratio.

Although it’s been a while since most basketball fans have seen Kendall Williams play, it’s time for a D-League team to give Kendall Williams a shot due to his experience and his stance as an efficient and versatile offensive weapon.