Keeping the momentum going
Corey Williams, known as "Homicide" on the playgrounds, never played in a big-time college program and has balled in such places as China, Sweden or Venezuela. But his talent hasn't gone unnoticed by the NBA people. He's had short stints with the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets and is now trying to catch on with another NBA team by showcasing his skills in the D-League with the Dakota Wizards. Williams will talk about his experiences in the NBADL at HoopsHype.com.
Hi, everybody. Right now I am extremely happy because things are going quite well here with the Wizards. We won five in a row against the Arkansas RimRockers and we have to make a statement. We have to keep the momentum going and play the way we are capable of before the playoffs begin.
Everybody knows their role and I'm very happy with my game, 'cause my game is accepted here. Nothing happens overnight. My first half of the season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce was not good and I had to move, and now it's a perfect match. My wife came to see me last week and that was special for me, because she is my biggest critic.
Now I'm on a team where nobody plays more than 35 minutes. There's a good balance and everybody is focused on winning, not putting up good stats. There's good chemistry, that's the main thing in order to succeed. Right now, we have three point guards and we play small ball sometimes, which is good for me. We have big games against very good teams like the Skyforce and Fort Worth and I'm sure we will give our best.
Unfortunately, my '187' shoes will not be available during the D-League Finals. The guys at K1X and myself want to test the shoe. So during the summer, maybe in a NBA summer league or in the playgrounds of my NYC, you will see two '187' samples. And there's going to be more stuff in the Bronx, China... A lot of good things in the future, man!
By the way, I saw the Rasheed Wallace shot from downtown... Amazing! But the thing is, fans think that it was a lucky shot. Wrong. I am a basketball player and I know that you make those shots because after every practice you spend more time trying to make baskets like that.
That's all for now. See you. Bye!
Hi there! Here I am, adapting to my new teammates with the Dakota Wizards. We're leading the pack in the East, so right now it's good to feel that we are the guys to beat. Coach Joerger and me have worked together in the past and his coaching style hasn't changed at all. It's a perfect fit for my game. I'm really happy so far.
I actually haven't seen much of Bismarck since my first games were on the road... But I don't have bad feelings about cities that are very different to New York City. I've been in places like Israel, so it just doesn't matter where I am living as long as it doesn't affect my goal: play ball and have a shot at returning to the NBA.
Now there's some bad weather around here, so the NBADL had to change our schedule and we will have a lot of home games coming up. It's a great chance to become a stronger team just before the playoffs.
By the way, I'm pretty excited about my campaign with K1X. I have a shoe test in six weeks, another step before the birth of my '187' model, which will be released during the D-League Finals. You know, I'm 'Homicide' Williams, so it was a no-brainer to use the police code when a homicide is committed. My killings happen on the court, though. And I'm still very hungry looking for more victims.
I saw the injury of Shaun Livingston earlier this week. A freak accident. An uncontested layup, nobody touched him... But it's just the fate of sports. One day you're at the top and within seconds you're in a terrible spot. The worst injury I've had was a soreness in one of my feet and it took six weeks before I could play again. That was a very difficult time for me, so I can't even imagine what's ahead for Shaun. I just wish him luck and hope he will be soon again playing in the NBA.
Talk to you soon. Keep ballin'. Bye!
It was my decision to finish the relationship with the Skyforce. It all started well with the team, but they kept signing guards and my playing time was going down. I still managed to produce for the team (averaging 12.5 points and 4.1 assists per game), but I felt like I was not being able to showcase myself the way I wanted in a situation like that. So I had a meeting with Coach McHone and asked him to release me so that I could join another squad where I had more opportunities. The coach and the club were very professional about this whole thing and granted my wish. I respected that they tried to improve the team... And they were bringing good players! But the situation was not what I had envisioned, so it was better for me and them to move on.
Anyway, it's not like I have taken a step backwards. The Wizards are leading the Eastern Conference right now, so we are no joke. A good thing about Dakota is that I already know the coach. Dave Joerger was with me last season in Sioux Falls and we have a good rapport. I probably had my best season with him coaching me. In a way, he's like Mike D'Antoni – letting players do their thing and not calling plays all the time. I like that.
The coach is not new to me and the surroundings aren't, either. I was a member of the Dakota Wizards (based in Bismarck) for a while seven years ago, when the club was playing in the IBA. I don't know a whole lot about the city, though. I'll let you know if it's better than Sioux Falls.
What I can already tell you is that Bismarck is no better than Vegas. I spent a few days in Sin City during the All-Star break, but not because of the parties. I was doing business there with the K1X people and things went smooth. My test shoe is coming pretty soon and there will be a big advertising campaign. They are putting billboards in New York in a few weeks and I'm thrilled about it being a New Yorker myself. If you live in the Bronx, you can see them with your own eyes around mid-March.
I knew him a little bit and he was a cool guy. A laid-back, down-to-Earth person. He was a legend and will be missed.
That's all for this week. Bye, guys!
It's been a while since the last diary installment, right? Well, it has been tough days here. We've been playing our worst basketball since I signed with the Skyforce. Five straight losses, guys. Three of them at home. I didn't see this coming. I think we have to play with a lot more intensity to turn this thing around, but it's not going to be easy. Our best big man, Jared Reiner, got called up by the Milwaukee Bucks and he's going to be missed. He was clearly our top low-post presence.
Even though I know you voted for me, I was not selected to the NBADL All-Star Game. My camp – my manager and the guys at K1X – lobbied for the D-League to put my name on the ballot, but it was probably too late. And anyway, I already knew it was going to be hard for me to be selected. I hadn't played enough games and they went with guys that have been in the league longer than me. So I'm not suprised or disappointed. It is what it is.
As you may know, players don't make an awful lot of dough in the D-League. Some of you may think I was crazy to leave a lot of money on the table by passing on contracts in Europe and playing here. But I have no regrets whatsoever. I wanted to give myself another chance to make it in the NBA. The last thing you want is to think about what-ifs. So I'm here trying to do my best to get to the next level and that's all. Besides, I'm not really hurting for money. I signed a good deal with K1X, so I'm not struggling financially at all. I'm never like, "Oh, I should have taken that money in Europe." That has not crossed my mind.
The most talked about issue in basketball this week has been John Amaechi's announcement that he was gay. My take? Having a gay teammate shouldn't be a problem. It's all about respect. As long as we respect each other and conduct on a professional manner, it's a non-issue. I would only have a problem if it's RuPaul or somebody flamboyant like that. But you know that's not happening. It's a fact, people... There are gays playing basketball everywhere. In Europe, in the NBA... Everywhere. And you have to accept it. You can't look at another person as less just because he's gay.
Talk to you in a few days. Hopefully we've got another win by then. Bye!
On the ballot
I'm in Denver today to see my family. Got one day off from duty and used it to saw my wife and my kid. Hadn't had a chance to be with them since New Year's Day and it feels great to see those faces again. Not that I'll be able to stay for long – got a flight this evening – but it feels just good anyway.
Just got the news that Will Conroy got called up by an NBA team. He's going to the Memphis Grizzlies and I'm happy for him. I scored 29 points on him the other day, by the way. Some people may think that there could be some bitterness when a guy you played so well against gets called up and you're not, but it's not like that. I truly think he deserves it. He was leading the D-League in assists and was playing very consistent basketball, so it's not surprising at all that he's going to the NBA. I hope everything goes well for him there and doesn't have to return.
Conroy getting called up may have a good side effect for me... That's less competition for the guard spots at the D-League All-Star Game! You can vote for me here. I was not on the ballot a few days ago, but I'm now. My manager and the guys at K1X pushed for the D-League to include my name there since there was a lot of people willing to vote for me. Not sure if I'll get the chance to be in the All-Star because I probably didn't play enough games with my team. But hey, you never know.
Although I had good numbers, we didn't have a great week. We lost twice against Conroy's Tulsa 66ers – the second one in OT. I think we'll bounce back, though. We are playing eight games in a row at home, so it's probably going to be a good stretch for us.
See you guys next week. Bye!
Doing my thing
How was your week, guys? Mine was good. As I said a few days ago, this week we had the D-League Showcase here and I think I did a good job in front of the NBA scouts that were in the stands following the event. With the new additions to the team, I'm not playing 30-something minutes per game anymore... But it's OK. We have a lot of talent in the backcourt and the coaches do a good at giving everybody a chance to show what they can do. Besides, we are sharing the ball. Don't believe everything that you hear about the D-League. There's are no me-first attitudes here so far.
From what I heard, the NBA people were pleased with the way I played. I was productive in the minutes I got. The one area the scouts could be concerned about is my mid-range game. But you know, that's typical NYC stuff. Guards from New York, we all have a tendency to go to the basket all the time. Kenny Anderson, Mark Jackson, Rafer Alston... None of them were great shooters and all have had good careers in the NBA.
I remain optimistic about my chances of getting to the League this year, but it's not like I'm obsessed with it. If I'm called up, that would obviously be great. But my mindset coming here was just giving it one more shot, try to improve as a player and not get depressed if it doesn't happen for me. It's OK if I have to stay to whole season with the Skyforce. From a basketball standpoint, it's going to be a great experience.
Outside of basketball... Well, not that much. There's not a lot to do when you are not playing or practicing. You get up, have breakfast and go to the gym for two hours of practice. Two good hours of practice. We work hard here. After lunch, I always return to the gym to continue working on my game. And after that, it gets kind of boring.
Nightlife? There's no such thing in Sioux Falls, so I just watch TV and read a little bit. I'm reading one of these self-improvement books now. It's called "How to Live Your Life and Eliminate Excuses." Good stuff. It was written by a former NBA player, by the way. Maybe this can help me a little bit.
See you next week!
New faces, new challenges
Just returned from Idaho, people. Another good week for me, even though we lost the game against the Stampede. Once again, we played back-to-back matches and lost the second one. We're 2-2 since I arrived and I think it's a pretty good record considering all the roster changes the team has been through lately. It's like a whole new different team here every few weeks. We got one played called up by the NBA and three new acquisitions: Stephen Graham from Portland, Amir Johnson from Detroit and a seven-footer called Chad Bell.
With so many new faces, it's hard to develop good team chemistry. But we're working on it. We just have to learn each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Even though Graham is a backcourt player, I'm not worried my team decided to sign him. I'm hoping it doesn't affect my playing time, but anyway all you can do is play your best in the minutes you get. And I've been playing a lot and quite well, I think. Besides, I know pretty Graham pretty well from my time in the CBA and he's talented. So that can only benefit our squad.
I like Amir Johnson a lot, too. The kid is going to be a real good player. He's energertic and very athletic. And for me personally, it's great having a guy like him on the floor. He gets up and down the court real quick, which is something I always like in a teammate since I'm a fast-break point guard.
You always hear stories about young guys in the NBA not wanting to be assigned to D-League teams, but Amir doesn't act like his pissed off or something for being here. We speak a lot and he's a good guy. He's not coming here with an attitude.
This coming week could be very imporant for my career. The D-League Showcase begins Monday (here, in Sioux Falls) and I'm excited about the opportunity to show what I can do. It's a big stage, guys. There will be a lot of NBA scouts watching in the stands and I'm hoping I get noticed. I'm not nervous, though. Other guys are nervous, but not me. Why? Because I've been in pressure situations like this before. I've been in two training camps with NBA teams and got used to that kind of pressure. I'm not going to be overwhelmed by the situation. I'll just get on the court and do my best. And then we'll see what happens.
Next week, I'll tell you how everything went for me. Bye!
Back in South Dakota
A lot has been going on for me since I did the Training Camp Diary here at HoopsHype.com. After being cut by the Denver Nuggets, I looked at my options in Europe. And I had good options! AEK Athens offered me a contract and I signed. That was a pretty good squad. They were playing in the ULEB Cup this season, which is like the second strongest competition in Europe. The problem is, they voided the contract the following day and decided to hire a cheap Greek point guard. No big deal, as I got an offer from France right after that. Besides, Greek clubs have a reputation for not always paying people on time and the situation in France wasn't bad – although the money was a little bit worse.
I played pretty well in France for Cholet on a temporary contract. They wanted to re-sign me, but I chose to leave. I liked coach Erman Kunter, but the way the team played didn't fit my style very well. Cholet was all about halfcourt sets and I like to push the ball. Run and gun, you know. So I decided to return to the States and give myself another chance to get to the NBA.
So here I am now. Back in Sioux Falls, a place that I know well. I played for the Skyforce last season, when the club was still in the CBA and it was a good experience. In my opinion, it's always important to play for a team where you are accepted as you are. I know what coach Mo McHone wants and he knows what I bring to the table. It's gonna be good.
I think we have a good backcourt here with Frank Williams and myself. Frank played in the NBA mostly as a point guard, but he's the two guard here and I handle the ball more. It's a good mix because I'm a good ballhandler and Frank is a terrific shooter. He's hit 15 three-pointers in the two games (one win, one loss) I've played here. And with good percentages!
The fact that one Skyforce player, Andre Brown, just got called up by the Sonics gives me more hope that I can get a chance in the NBA. It means people in the league are watching and if you do well here, you can get an opportunity on the next level. That's what the D-League is all about, right?
What can I tell you about the city? Well, as you may expect, there's not a lot to do outside of basketball. Being a New Yorker, that's an adjustment. But this is the type of thing that can be a blessing in disguise. Since there's not much to do, you can totally focus on basketball and that can pay off for you in the end.
I'll be off to Idaho this week to play another game. Will be back here at HoopsHype.com right after that. Bye!
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