If Erik Spoelstra’s comments on the development of Patrick Williams aren’t enough to generate excitement for the sophomore year, then maybe Williams’s own words will.
The 19-year-old is currently the youngest player in Team USA training camp. The Bulls’ overall pick No.4 in the 2020 NBA Draft has been invited to participate in Team Select, which is a 17-player roster created to help form the official 12-player roster that will travel to Tokyo more late this month. For the first time since the offseason ended, Williams spoke to the media on Wednesday night and made it very clear what this time in Las Vegas means to him.
” It’s an opportunity. Opportunities, one thing about them, they will let you pass if you allow it. So just come here, sure to work, but just be a sponge for everyone, âWilliams told reporters (h / t Bulls dot com). âI mean, you go the best of the best here. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be here. So whether it’s a trainer or a nutritionist, or whoever works for the United States, they’re the best at what they do. Just be a sponge for anyone, keep your ears open even if the conversation with meâ¦ Not afraid to ask questions. Get out of my comfort zone a little and be a little more vocal and a little more interactive. It is an opportunity and I cannot let it pass.
While Williams’ behavior on the court may say otherwise, the second-youngest NBA player last season never acted like he was anything else. Williams was frank on draft night about how many things he needed to learn, and he reiterated his enthusiasm for doing so during the Bulls preseason training camp: Every day I come here and I learn new things, terminology or places in the field, things like that, and readings to do. Coming every day to learn has been the best part for me. It’s a dream come true. For a bigger flashback, check out our article here.
In other words, it should come as no surprise that Williams takes a very similar approach to his first stint with Team USA. There’s arguably no better way to hone your craft than to compete with some of the best players in the world, and Williams (luckily for the Bulls) takes none of this for granted.
Best of all, he’s already thinking about how all of those freshman experiences can help him take it to the next level in his second season.
â(My) rookie season was more than I could ever ask for. Kind of thrown in the fire, honestly, just without having the right introduction to the NBA, just having four preseason games and then straight to the regular season. But I wouldn’t have done it any other way, honestly. It was a challenge, for sure. But I was up to the challenge and I think I handled it pretty well with the help of my teammates and technical staff. I kind of know the game plan now, in terms of my development, my future. I don’t have all the answers yet, but with the help of my coaches, we’ve come up with a game plan to get to where I need to go.
I love everything about this offseason so far for Williams, especially since he seems to have a pretty good mentor by his side.
Williams said he and Zach LaVine went out for dinner last night and LaVine shared his experiences with Team Select with him. âHe encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and ask questions and be a sponge,â said Williams. https://t.co/2RFl4zIvnK
– KC Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 7, 2021
Then the Summer League!