|No. 24 – Retired|
|Species||Dark Wolf ( Canidae )|
|The Windy City Werewolf|
|The Lone Wolf|
October 31, 1992|
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||215 lb (98 kg)|
|School||Canis State University|
|FBA draft||2015 / Round: 2 / Pick: 34th overall|
|Selected by the Baltimore Spirits|
|Pro playing career||2015–present|
|2015-November 2016||Baltimore Spirits|
|(OOC) Usage||Ask me before any use|
Damian Williams was born in Chicago, IL on October 31st, 1992 and from a very young age was fascinated by sports. His jet black fur made him quite the imposing figure around the neighborhood. Being born on Halloween and being a wolf, Williams had no shortage of nicknames throughout his early years. Growing up on the rough south side of Chicago made Williams appreciate the little things in life like family and the occasional pick-up game. Damian became a bit of a street ball legend with many saying he would be the next big thing to come out of Chicago. His trademark howling and growling after big plays got him the nickname The Windy City Werewolf at the parks. He was a multi sport athlete for many years as a child playing soccer, football, baseball and basketball at various points. However, sports were an escape from the real life tragedies happening in his life.
Damian's mother was a drug addict and barely able to provide food for her son. Damian's father walked out on the family when Williams was only two. Years of struggling left sports, and basketball specifically, as one of the few things Damian could actually enjoy. He escaped to the courts often and did his best to stay out of the gang related activity all over his neighborhood. When he was just 12, his mother through him out of the house, citing her disgust for his presence as justification. Damian, now a homeless wolf fighting to get out of the hood, bounced around his friends houses for most of high school. Damian continued to find reasons to go on, with sports being at the forefront. As high school came around, Williams focused on football and basketball primarily. An interesting note about his jersey number, 24, is that he wears it to represent his work and effort never stopping. As he said it, "I'm working 24/7, all day, every day." He has worn it on every team he's ever been on and has no plans to change it.
That success on the streets didn't translate to organized ball as Williams was initially cut from the basketball team his freshman year and forced to play on the JV squad. While there, he decided to focus on what he could add to the team to make him more useful. Damian always had a silky smooth jump shot, but he also had an affinity for defense. During his sophomore year, Williams showed his tenacity on that end of the floor along with his furious energy. He finally got his chance to start midway through the season and never looked back. He led his team to a first round upset in the state tournament, and though they latter lost in the second round, Williams had left his mark. Following his break out sophomore season, Damian was invited to a private basketball camp with some of the top high school ballers in the country. The camp was led by current and former FBA greats such as Xavier Knutten. It was there that he would meet his good friend and soon to be rival Clifford Carlin. The small Portland native seemed out of place at the camp, but the two soon came to respect the others game. Williams and Carlin played with and against each other throughout the duration of the camp. The two battled hard in drills and scrimmages, showing a similar work ethic and desire to win. When he wasn't training, DW could be seen in the ear of any legend or current player he could find asking about nutrition, playing in the league and for advice on his game. Both Carlin and Williams caught the eye of a few of the pros, but none more so then each other. Williams used those experiences in his junior year to help his team win their first state title in nearly two decades. Williams put on a one man show, leading the team in almost every statistical category as the local papers called him the "Lone Wolf" for the way he carried his team. Asked to comment on the newest name, he responded by saying "It's not about me. It's about this team. All those nicknames, the records, it doesn't mean anything in the end. All that matters is winning or losing and today, we're champions."
During his senior year, Williams quietly had another nice season while other top prospects joined the conversation for top baller in the Windy City. Damian's role changed into more of a defensive stopper, much like his sophomore year, and spot up shooter. This lead to his scoring numbers taking a dive as the team was infused with other talented playmakers. DW could care less as his team won their second straight title. Despite his marvelous run, Williams wasn't heavily recruited out of high school. With Chicago being a hub for many talented athletes, Damian turned down a few scholarship opportunities from Division 2 schools and decided to walk on at Canis State University, picking it over the more established Chicago Bay. In the end, Damian wanted to stay home in Chicago and CSU offered him a better chance at making the squad. Williams came off the bench in his freshman year, continuing to expand his game and find his role on a new team. His defense and maximum effort made him an instant hit with the college crowd, while his sharp shooting gave CSU a powerful scoring punch off the bench. Damian would start the next year, his sophomore one, leading his team in steals, points and three point shooting percentage. While he certainly made an impact on the team, his junior year was his coming out party.
DW, as he was now referred to by most of the campus, had added the pick and roll game to his arsenal as well as the ability to attack defenders off the dribble. No longer just a spot up shooter, Damian was drawing more fouls and converting at a nearly 90% clip from the line. CSU advanced to the final four where they saw their dreams nearly extinguished when their start big man went down with an injury. Due to foul trouble and a lack of depth, Williams was inserted at center for the first time in his career, a move highly criticized at the time. However CSU, led by Williams improbably defensive play down low, advanced to the finals. The story book ending would not be however as DW and his squad were unable to get the job done and lost in the championship game. Many thought Williams would join what looked to be a loaded 2013 FBA draft, especially with the uncertainty of CSU's roster following the injuries and graduations. DW's numbers made him a lock to be at least a top five pick in even this star studded draft. However, DW returned for his senior season, even switching to point guard to accommodate a blue chip freshman that had arrived to play the 2. When asked why he would pass over the FBA and guaranteed money Williams said, "I have a sour taste in my mouth that I want to get rid of."
Damian's numbers took a hit across the board, his scoring and usage rate most notably, but he averaged a career high in assists as CSU took off. Throughout the year Williams was criticized for letting a freshman come in and take over the scoring load, even switching positions to accommodate him. When asked about it he told reporters, "It doesn't matter to me who scores all the points. For me it's about winning and what I can do to help the team win. Right now that's playing a role that involves playing defense, running this offense and giving maximum effort on every play. You can effect winning without scoring you know." CSU rolled through the season as Williams continued his inspired defensive play.
On their way back to the title game, Williams and company ran into an upstart PredTech team led by Alec Kustowski and Clifford Carlin. Making their first Sweet 16 appearance, Kustowski dominated the paint as CSU rained down threes to start the game. Williams largely made "Underdog", as Cliff was called, disappear. Using his size and strength advantage, he put up 20 first half points. But Kustowski refused to let his team go down without a fight as he continued to get the CSU big men in foul trouble. With Williams forced to help off Carlin, Underdog found his groove late in the game to ignite one last run. However, Williams and his CSU teammates made stops when they had to as DW refused to let his team lose. Williams stripped Kustowski of the ball in the games waning seconds and nailed the game clinching free throws as CSU went on to win by five. After the game, Williams found his friend and told Carlin, "Keep your head up man. That was a hell of game alright? You got a lot to be proud of. Much respect man. I'll see you in the league next year." CSU continued its march through the tournament and ended up once again in a familiar spot. In the title game, Williams took over the biggest stage in college basketball, collecting a triple double of points, assists, and rebounds. Despite the stellar final performance, Williams heard scouts and reporters breaking down his game and dip in production during the season. Damian was asked about the draft a few days the season ended and if he was worried returning for one last run may have hurt his draft stock.
"I don't know. It honestly doesn't matter to me. I didn't come back to think about the draft. I came back to be with a great group of guys and accomplish a goal. Last year we didn't get the job done and I know everyone in that locker room wanted another shot at this. Sure, my numbers are down, but it's not about that for me. It's about winning and I wanted to win a championship." He was later asked where he expected to be taken in the draft.
"Man, I don't even know. Just to be mentioned as someone who could get drafted is an honor. If that's number one overall, great. If that's the last pick in the draft, that's amazing too. And even if I'm not drafted, I'm still going to continue playing basketball and working on my game. My dream is to get to the FBA and nothing is going to stop me from chasing that dream." When asked what he thought he could bring to a team, DW wasn't bashful.
"Heart, hustle and muscle man. That's how we play ball in Chicago. You give it all you got. It's the little things that win championships. So yeah, it's nice to drop 50 on someone, but if I have 10, 7 and 5 and we win, I'll take that every time. You can always affect the game with your effort and that's what I bring. Defense too. It's all about effort. Fighting over screens, knowing your rotations, I love playing defense. That's what wins championships. I want the go against the best and I look forward to the challenge of guarding the best. Guys like Buck Hopper, Barton Rouge , Xavier Knutten, John Stoat, guys that I looked up to and watched growing up. I'm a student of the game and any team that takes a chance on me is going to get a hard worker ready to learn day one." Williams was constantly prodded for a response to the scouts and analysts criticizing his game and finally, he said his piece.
"What do you want me to say? People talk man. Haters gonna hate as they say. But you know what? It doesn't bother me. People have doubted me my whole life. I was cut in high school. I didn't get a scholarship to go to college. I didn't start my freshman year. I've made a habit of proving people wrong and letting my game speak for me. If people want to say coming back was a mistake, that's fine. Maybe it'll cost me money, but I can make that back. I can't remake these memories. That's what matters. So let the haters hate. I'm just focused on being the best basketball player I can be."
On 8/30 Damian Williams was found to have failed a urine test for performance enhancing drugs after the 2014 FBA Rookie Draft Class showcase. In accordance with the FBA's no tolerance policy, Damian Williams has been banned from the FBA, with an option for appear 12 months to the day. He has been removed from the top 24 and is unable to be drafted in the 2014 FBA draft.
| FBA Draft Spotlight - Damian Williams|
Written by Rich Smith
© Rich Smith
| CHICAGO – We as reporters like to toss around words like “unbelievable” and “incredible” at the drop of the hat. We talk about teams “overcoming the odds” or how certain moments are ones you will “never forget.” If you are a sports fan, you’ve heard these clichés before. But once in a blue moon, a story comes along that is truly, unbelievable. A true rags to riches story. I’m as guilty as anyone of overhyping the clichés. However, I promise this is not one of those times. This is one of those unique stories in basketball.
Damian Williams is the starting shooting guard for Canis State University. Next fall there isn’t a creature alive that doesn't expect him to be ballin’ in the big leagues. He’s been projected by scouts to go everywhere in the draft. Some say he ‘should’ be the number one pick. Others have their doubts about how good he actually is. But what no one is debating is the odds Williams overcame to even have a shot at the FBA.
When Damian was just an infant, his father abandoned the family. His mother was forced to raise Williams as a single mother, something she clearly wasn’t interested in doing. He told FSPN in an interview earlier this year about what life was like as a kid. “It was tough. Growing up without a father and having a mother that probably never wanted a kid in the first place,” Williams said. “It’s tough. But you find a way to survive.” He found a home on the court at a young age almost as a safe haven from the turmoil at home. As his street legend grew, his mother became more and more exhausted by his mere presence in her house. By the time Damian turned 12, his mother tossed him out on the street with no regard for his well being. “I didn’t know what to do. I was a kid. I thought I was going to starve to death,” Williams said. The next few years of his life would be a couch hopping adventure, traversing numerous homes of neighbors and friends. But Williams stayed true to his basketball dreams as he entered high school. That’s where he met Kenny Butler.
Butler was the ‘star’ of the JV team when Williams joined on after being cut from the varsity squad. The two vowed to make the varsity team next year and ended up doing just that. Butler and Williams would become fast friends, pushing each other on the court and in the classroom. “Grades were always important to me,” Williams said. “Kenny and I wanted to better ourselves as students and as athletes.” The tandem became a dynamic backcourt, sharing ball handling duties and locking up the opposing teams’ backcourt with some of the stingiest defense you’ll ever see in high school sports. It would become Damian’s calling card for years to come. Yet the story would not be Williams’ emergence as basketball player. It would be what Butler did for Damian off the court. And it would change his life forever.
Kenny convinced his family to let Damian stay at their place. Diana Butler, Kenny’s mother, was hesitant at first. She already had three kids of her own. But she soon accepted the young man into her house as one of her own. Finally with a stable home environment, Williams continued to grow as a basketball player. “Kenny probably saved my life man. No joke. That’s what it felt like. It meant that much to me,” Williams said. “I can never repay him. I can’t repay Mr. and Mrs. Butler for taking me into their house and treating me like their own kid. I owe them everything.” And the rest, as they say, is history. The crafty guard went on to win two state titles with Butler before walking on at CSU. It was there he would find yet another person to push his game to another level.
Williams would again be relegated to a bench role his freshman year at CSU. But that didn’t stop him from putting up big numbers off the pine. Across the country, a rugged little guard out of Portland, Oregon would also be working to make his mark on the sport. Clifford Carlin was anything but the typical blue chip prospect. While his game less polished than Williams, it was his heart that would make Carlin stand out. DW, as he was often called, knew Cliff from a basketball camp the two had attended following their sophomore years of high school. Carlin was overmatched at the camp, but competed as hard as anyone. Williams couldn’t help but admire the scrappy point guard. “He was something else. I had never met anyone else that matched my intensity on the court till I met him,” Williams told FSPN. “He never quit.”
The two worked out for most of the camp, drawing rave reviews from the counselors despite the stellar play of other prospects. The two remained in touch, often working out together during the summer and playing pickup games. Then, in 2014, they met up in the Sweet Sixteen. Williams, now a rising talent for CSU, and Carlin, a fringe draft prospect for PredTech, clashed in a battle of feel good stories. While CSU was a rising program, it was not known for its basketball prowess. Meanwhile, PredTech was making its first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. Ever. While PredTech had rising star Alec Kustowski, CSU countered with Williams. Damian made Clifford disappear for most of the game, but he knew the resilient Carlin would keep coming. “Underdog wasn’t going to stop shooting or playing,” Williams said after the game. “Late in the game I told coach, ‘We can’t let Underdog get going.’” Well he would, leading a PredTech charge back into the game. However, Williams would flash his defensive prowess and strip Kutowski of the ball in the waning seconds to seal the game for CSU. When asked how he felt beating his close friend, his answer was straight forward. “He was on the other team and I wasn’t going to lose. Simple as that.” Williams said. “Look, I love Cee-cee like a brother, but you don’t feel bad for beating your brother. Heck of a game man. I’m just glad to be moving on.” Damian would continue to move on and cement his legacy just prior to the draft.
But it’s his journey from the streets to FBA prospect that has truly captured the eyes of fans and scouts alike. Just don’t expect him to talk about it. Williams has said consistently he wants to be drafted for the right reasons, not just to be a feel good story. “Teams don’t need a sob story. And honestly, I don’t want to be one. Everyone has it tough. I just want to play basketball and if I’m fortunate enough to make it to the league, I want it to be for how I play the game.”
Well here is a secret Mr. Williams. You will be drafted for the right reasons. And it will also be a truly unbelievable and incredible feel good story about overcoming the odds. One we will never forget.