Rize of the Fenix: Phoenix sign Tenacious Defender and Rebounder Alan Williams

American big man Alan Williams has signed with the South-East Melbourne Phoenix for NBL23.

The South-East Melbourne Phoenix have landed elite rebounder and defender Alan Williams for the NBL23 season.

Standing at six foot eight, Williams has great experience at both NBA and international basketball. Playing his professional career across China, the NBA, G-League and most recently Russia.

Williams has played his last three seasons in Russia’s VTB United League for Lokomotiv Kuban, averaging 10.3 points, 7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals per game last season.

However this is far from his best. In the 2020/21 season, he averaged 22.1 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game for the Russian side.

This is because he was making his way back from a patella ligament injury that ended his 2020/21 season early.

Williams saw the opportunity to move to Australia as a great career choice.

“I always heard Australia was a great place to visit, and it happens to be a perfect and upcoming basketball league. I just found it a good opportunity to further my career and touch an area of the globe that I haven’t been to yet. I’m excited,” Williams said.

Across his career, he got to play for his hometown team the Phoenix Suns and the Brooklyn Nets along side new teammate Mitch Creek in the NBA.

“Having a chance to play with Mitch Creek in Long Island (Brooklyn’s G-League affiliate) was memorable. He’s a hell of a competitor; he brings it every night, cares about his teammates and team.”

“So, I had a couple of conversations once the interest started rising on both sides; he was adamant about getting me out here and joining the team and gave me all the positives the city of Melbourne brings, and the great things this team are trying to do. I just felt like I was the piece that could help out, and I plan on coming in there and figuring out what my team needs and being able to provide that so we can try and win a championship,” Williams said.

Across his 67 NBA game career, he averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in 13 minutes per game.

‘Big Sauce’, as he is nicknamed, says his passion and play comes from his love of the game.

“I think my passion and my play come from the game. Basketball is my favourite thing to do, and it’s truly an honour to get a chance to do it professionally. I try to go out there every night with the same mentality, like; you know what? have fun because that’s what it is all about.”

“I have the mentality that this is a fun thing that I get to do professionally, so I am just going to make the most of the opportunity as well as play with as much passion and as hard as I can,” he said.

Phoenix Head Coach Simon Mitchell is excited to be bringing in Williams as he is a long-time admirer of his game.

“I know Creeky loved playing next to him, and I think they have some unfinished business together. He is a monster on the boards, has a natural feel for where the ball is going and protects that area with his frame,” Mitchell said.

“Offensively, his touch and basketball IQ have always stood out. Alan possesses a teardrop that extends out to the free throw line. He makes great basketball decisions out of the short rolls, whether finishing or finding a teammate. And he seals so well around the rim, especially after a deep roll on the rim. I think he will have a very successful season in our system.”

Williams joins the South-East Melbourne roster which already has Gary Browne Jr, Trey Kell, Kyle Adnam, Junior Madut, Owen Foxwell (DP), Ryan Broekhoff, Reuben Te Rangi, Mitch Creek and Dane Pineau.

Phoenix start their NBL23 campaign against the Tasmania JackJumpers on October 1st at John Cain Arena.

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