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An Interview with Raptors 905 draftee Kendall Williams

After some ups and downs, Williams is ready to get things going in the D-League with the 905.

Stanford v New Mexico Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kendall Williams was recently drafted by the Raptors 905 with the 76th pick in the D-League draft. After a solid college career, where he averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, Williams was invited to participate in the NBA Draft Combine. From there however, he went from being undrafted, to playing in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Chicago Bulls, to playing overseas for two seasons.

At 25 years old, he’s now on his way to Mississauga to play for the Raptors 905 in the NBA D-League. I reached out to Williams and corresponded with him to get some answers with how he’s feeling about his basketball career right now.

Cole Shelton: You verbally agreed to play at UCLA, but they withdrew the scholarship due to “on-court behaviour.” What went through your head when that happened?

Kendall Williams: At the time I was incredibly disappointed. However it ended up being one of the best happenings and learning experiences of my life.

CS: After UCLA pulled out, why did you choose New Mexico?

KW: New Mexico at the time was a top-10 team. As well as a program on the rise, so that is a main reason why I chose to go there. 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.

CS: Sounds like it was a obvious choice then. You played great at college and your stats backed it up, did you expect to get drafted?

KW: Yes, I expected myself to be drafted. But then again there are only 60 spots in the NBA draft and although I believe every year there is incredible talent 1 through 60, my year was perceived to be overloaded with talent and young talent that be.

CS: After going undrafted in that very talented draft did the D-League cross your mind or was it always going to be overseas?

KW: It crossed my mind but I wanted to experience the overseas culture and the game. In the end I am very happy I did because it was an awesome experience.

CS: Speaking of overseas, what is it like to play over there?

KW: Playing overseas is a grind. However after I accepted my position as an overseas professional my game really began to grow, and the stats starting getting better. Also my experience as a foreign professional athlete began to prosper.

CS: So you didn’t choose the D-League after going undrafted, why now?

KW: To me it is all about the timing and the opportunity it gives me right now to grow my game.

CS: For Raptors and Raptor 905 fans who don’t know you describe your game?

KW: I would have to say I have the dynamic game with the ability to play both guard positions. I can also facilitate/run a team, as well as score and be a spark on the team if they need it.

CS: What do you want to come from this opportunity with the 905?

KW: Personal development and to gain knowledge/skill from the NBA level. Also to hopefully impress enough to make it to the highest level which is the NBA.

CS: You signed with the London Lightning of the NBL Canada before getting drafted, do you know anything about Canada as you were coming here regardless?

KW: First off, I am no longer under contract with the NBL Canada. I also know absolutely nothing about Canada but excited to learn about it.

CS: Well it is a great country. What is your goal for 2017 and what are you most looking forward to playing in the D-League?

KW: To maximize my potential is my goal for 2017. I am most looking forward to the competition and opportunity that comes from playing in the NBA D-League.

CS: Thank you for taking time out of your crazy schedule now that training camp is under way, and best of luck this season.

KW: No problem and thank you.