Melbourne United has finalised it’s roster by signing forward/centre Devin Williams whose athleticism and defensive intensity they hope becomes the final piece of a championship puzzle.
Melbourne CEO Vince Crivelli said Williams was an exciting young player and noted his physical gifts.
“His energy and presence on both ends of the floor stood out to us, he is 6’9” but his wingspan is 6’11” and has a strong low post presence.” via NBL.com.au
The news has been circulating on Twitter via numerous sources for a number of weeks now but finally, it was revealed to be true through the promotional use of a social media post which clearly shows Williams in action for West Virgina.
News from #WVU alumni game: Former standout Devin Williams has signed to play professionally in Australia for next season.
— The DP Sports (@TheDPsports) July 30, 2016
Devin Williams signed to the NBL in Australia, where the salary cap is a “soft 1.1 million” pic.twitter.com/QclclqdbwR
— Chris Jackson (@CJacksonWVU) August 1, 2016
Acquiring Williams seems almost non-negotiable with rival NBL teams all getting considerably bigger.
Pairing the defensive minded Williams with the sweet shooting David Andersen in Melbournes front court is a smart solution when facing talented big men like Cam Bairstow, Aleks Maric, Nathan Jawai and AJ Ogilvy will be happening on nightly basis.
The 22-year-old was noticed by United coaching staff at the NBA’s summer league where Williams was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Williams had previously starred at West Virginia University where he averaged 13.3 points and led the Mountaineers in rebounding (9.5 per game) last season.
Despite leaving West Virginia with one year remaining of his college eligibility he still left quite a mark on the team’s record books. In 2016 he became one of only 11 players in West Virginia program history to record 1,000 points and 800 rebounds. He played in 102 games (99 starts) over three seasons as a Mountaineer and recorded 42 double-doubles in those 102 games (He also had the most double-doubles in the Big 12 conference last season with 16)
Williams had multiple tryouts with NBA teams in the lead up to this years NBA draft but did not get an invite to the NBA Combine, nor hear his name called at the draft itself.
Williams hadn’t given up on his NBA dreams and had hoped to boost his profile during the NBA Summer League but struggled to make enough impact to make the team. In his five games with the squad. He averaged 2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game.
Williams will be hoping to replicate the success of recent NBL to NBA stars like Jordan McRae, who after a year at Melbourne signed a multi-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and is now an NBA champion (technically).
Wiliams has a number of Australian connections having won a National High School Invitational Championship in with Ben Simmons in 2013 and obviously after playing with Thon Maker at the Bucks.