Before every game, Alan Williams will pause to shake hands with the local law enforcement working the arena. He thanks them for their service. The ritual is a natural thing for the Nets two-way player. After all, Williams is the son of Jeri Williams, police chief in Phoenix, America’s fifth largest city, and Cody Williams, a judge in Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix.
And as he told the New York Post and NetsDaily at Media Day Monday, service —and politics— are as much in his blood as rebounding. Earlier this year, with some time off because of meniscus surgery, Williams served as his father’s campaign manager.
“Making phone calls, (soliciting) donations ... handling that,” said Williams. “I got the emails from the county that were sent out. It wasn’t that deep, but I’ve been watching him do elections for the past, I don’t know, 16 years now. So, I was keen to do it.”
And yes, his father won.
Now, his father —and mother— will be pulling for him as he dons a Nets uniform, perhaps even earlier than when the Nets travel to Phoenix on November 6. They will be easy to spot, as Brian Lewis of the Post writes. They’ll trade in their cop uniform and judicial robes for an Alan Williams jersey.
The Nets signed Williams to a two-way deal because of his rebounding and because it gives them some roster flexibility. He can spend 45 days in Brooklyn —not counting the three week gap between the start of the NBA and G League seasons — before Brooklyn will have to decide to give him an NBA contract.
He understands though that he’s going to have to prove himself again after his injury kept him out of all but five games last season.
“Absolutely, without a doubt,” Williams told Lewis. “Anytime you go from a situation where you have a secure roster spot to one where you’re fighting to try and get one, your mindset has to change, the intensity and work ethic that you put in. Starting again from the bottom is something I’m having to go through now and looking forward to. That’s how I got to where I got to in the first place.”
He’ll have the support of his teammate with the Suns, Jared Dudley, who offered fulsome praise of his talent and his team-oriented attitude.
“He’s the best teammate when it comes to supporting teammates. It’s genuine. You see him in practice pushing guys, rebounding. His practices are literally like his games, and that’s not for most [guys]. He always has a chip on his shoulder trying to prove himself,” said Dudley.
“If Alan didn’t hurt his knee last year, he’d still be in Phoenix, and be playing there. Brooklyn got a bargain.”
Indeed, the last time he was healthy, the end of the 2016-17 season, he was a terror on the boards, averaging 11.4 points and 9.1 boards after the All-Star break. And he says he is healthy. “I’m ready to go, ready to roll,” he said.
His mother has no doubt he’ll succeed in Brooklyn, telling Lewis...
“Fire in the belly, chip on the shoulder, whatever it is, he’s coming back which is a blessing,” Jeri said. “Alan’s always been that guy colleges overlooked, that guy that’s been an overachiever. He understands that double-double rebounding machine is where he fits and he’s excited to show that again.”
And what about Alan Williams having a career in public service himself once his basketball career is over.
“I mean I love the city of Phoenix and I would love to go back and serve my community, as my parents do now,” he told NetsDaily. “So, I’m never going to put it out of the question. It’s definitely something I’ve thought about.
When it was noted that that sounded very much like a politician’s answer, Williams smiled broadly and said, “Thanks. I was trained. I was trained.”
- New Net Alan Williams has service in his blood - Brian Lewis - New York Post