Chaz Williams has waited all his life for his chance to play in the NBA, but the former Bishop Ford and UMass star is still waiting for a team to take a chance on him.
The 5-foot-9 guard went undrafted this year, and did not even make a summer league roster, after working out for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks.
Williams had thought his showing in the pre-draft workouts —not to mention his performance at UMass — would be enough to make his NBA dream become a reality.
“I felt like I did enough to get my name called — collegiately and in these workouts,” Williams said after playing in the Hoops in the Sun streetball tournament at Orchard Beach. “Not getting my name called was a tough moment for me, and a humbling experience.”
But he said it was encouraging to see so many teams take an interest in him, and he is still hopeful he will be invited to a training camp.
Williams said Bishop Ford’s closing hurt him as he prepared for the pre-draft workouts. It was one of his favorite places to go to work on his game and shoot around.
“Being that the school is no longer in use, it left me with less places to work out,” he said. “It made it tougher. It’s a great school with a great tradition. It’s a beautiful place.”
The draft experience was eye-opening for Williams. He realized that playing professional ball requires a new level of dedication in all aspects of his life. It is more than just playing good basketball.
“Every thing is different — the way you eat, the way you sleep,” Williams said. “Everything is totally different, your whole lifestyle. You just have to change. You have to get the proper sleep, the proper rest, and you have to start taking care of your body.”
He took care of business in his final season at UMass. Williams averaged 15.6 points and 6.9 assists per game. He helped lead the Minutemen back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998, before losing to Tennessee in the opening round.
Williams put many of the skills that made him successful on display at Hoops in the Sun. He attacks the basket fearlessly and with a quick first step. There is always a reason for everything he does. It may be for a shot or for a pass in traffic to an open teammate. Williams, despite his size, can make the game look easy at times.
“He makes things happen,” Rosedale Trailblazers coach Hayden Brown said. “He’s explosive and he’s pretty strong in the paint, getting up there with taller people. It equalizes the fact that he is so small.”
It was his toughness that NBA executives and scouts wanted to see, according to Williams. He felt he showed that and will just have to stay tough as he works earn a spot in the league.
“I felt like I showed them my confidence,” Williams said. “I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up.”
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