One thing we don't do a good enough job of doing sometimes is keeping up with the former Deacs who were fan favorites in their time at Wake Forest. Luckily, we had the chance to talk with L.D. Williams today, who is still chasing his dream of making the NBA.
Williams was notorious for tenacious defense and thunderous dunks when he was with the Demon Deacons, and he has been rewarded for his play on the NBA D-League's Springfield Armor with an invitation to the Dream Factory Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend. The guard is averaging 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 34.8 minutes per game.
We talk about a typical game day, his journey to the Armor, his advice to the 2011-2012 Demon Deacons and more after the jump...
Talk a little bit about your basketball journey since Wake. What is the D-League like? How have you adjusted to the level of competition?
Well my journey has been not ideal for any player trying to get to the NBA, but it's a journey that has matured me as a player and as a person. Starting out in the D-League last year and playing under Dee Brown was good. I learned a lot and was able to become a better player. My time in the D-League gave me a chance to get a little more confidence back. I think because I was kind of on a mission, I took the game a little more seriously that I ever have. I got a lot of extra work in, and I really saw the outcome of my hard work.
Because of that, Tim Cone of the Alaska Aces in the PBA saw something in me and offered me a contract to be a part of their storied franchise. Now my time in the Philippines is where I got my killer instinct! Over there, it's produce or go home, LITERALLY! So night in and night out, I had to play like it was my last game. We had a successful regular season but lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. The Philippines was a great learning experience, playing in the triangle offense. The offense alone makes you a better player because everything is a read.
The summer after coming from the PBA, I dedicated myself to getting in better shape. I was 230 pounds in the NBADL and PBA, and I wanted to get back to about 210, so I really dedicated the summer to getting my body right. Every day last summer for the most part, I would get up and run, and lift then work out with Mike Lepore on the court. I accepted a job in Japan and was able to see the benefits of my hard work in the summer, but there was one thing missing.
My heart was in the NBADL, and in Springfield, more specifically. My team, the Springfield Armor had become a single affiliate with the New Jersey Nets, and it was going to be a great chance for me to obtain my ultimate goal of getting to the NBA. Behind the tutelage of Bob MacKinnon and Chris Carawell (yes former Dook F Chris Carawell), I have been able to maximize my potential on one of the best teams in the NBADL.
I must say I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches and my teammates because they have so much confidence in me as a player. Although I still have not achieved the ultimate goal, I think i have put myself in a position to maybe catch the eye of one of the GMs to take a shot on me soon.
You've got another chance to show off your dunking ability this weekend in the Dream Factory Dunk Contest, which fans can see live on nba.com/futurecast. How'd you find out that you were in? Was there any campaigning involved from you or your teammates or did it come as a surprise? Got any ideas?
Well, the league has their guys who they want in the Dunk Contest and Skills Challenge. I'm just blessed to be able to have the opportunity to be down in Orlando for the weekend. It truly is an honor to be there for NBA All-Star weekend! I'm still taken back that I will be down there with NBA stars that one day I hope to be playing against. So when coach MacKinnon called me and told me I was going to be representing the Springfield Armor, I was really excited.
As far as having any ideas, I think I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I will have a little fan base there because of the proximity to Montverde Academy, so I don't want to disappoint haha.
Run us through a typical game day. What's that like?
A typical game day for me is pretty simple. I dont really do anything crazy. For a 7 p.m. game, we will have film at 10:30 and walk through after at 11. Then after I'll stay with a manager and shoot about 100 or 200 jumpers. After that, myself, Dennis Horner and Jerry Smith will find a place to eat. Nine times out of 10, it's Cracker Barrel lol, but it is always up for debate.
After I eat, there is usually a pre-game nap. I get to the arena about three hours before most of the time, and I'll get up about 100 more shots and play one on one with Carawell to get my rhythm down before the game. After that, it's game time! The only pre-game ritual I have is that right before the tip, I talk with my grandparents who passed away when I was a soph. and jr., respectively, in college.
Do you still keep up with any of the other former Deacs?
I do, I do. I talk with James [Johnson] every now and again. I mean, of course I keep up with my fellow classmates Weave [David Weaver], Chas [McFarland] and Ish [Smith]. Cameron Stanley does as good as job as any with making sure we all stay in touch. Harvey Hale came to a few of my games in Austin earlier in the year. So I'd say we do a good job of keeping up with each other. Gary [Clark] and I talk every week. We were close-knit when we were there, so I wouldnt expect any of us to fall out of touch.
Wake Forest has had a tough couple years. What's your take on the program as a whole? What advice would you give to the guys on the team and the new recruits?
I mean we started at the bottom too when we came in. We hit all the same bumps these guys are hitting now. You wont find a bigger supporter! I stick with my guys, night in and night out. I told Carawell a few days ago that his boys [Duke] are going down Tuesday, and I believe in those guys and the coaching staff 110%!
The only advice I have is take these bumps and learn from them. Take all the criticisms and negative things people are saying about us and use it as fuel. Cause when we are back on top, and we will be back on top very soon, it will be a great feeling. With the core of CJ and Travis, and with the class we have coming in, I love our team. Coach Buzz will have those guys right sooner before later, mark my words.
Thanks again L.D. We all really appreciate it.
Thanks for having me man! GO DEACS!!