Former Central Florida guard Matt Williams has a sharp focus on his NBA dream with the draft and summer leagues looming around the corner for NBA hopefuls.
He signed with Octagon Sports Agency in April and has been training for nearly three weeks in Phoenix, Ariz., where most of the agency's clients are working out in preparation for the summer.
"I try to stick with the basics of just working out everyday, making sure I'm staying in contact with my family," Williams said. "I don't look at it like I'm playing a waiting game even though I am. I try to keep my mind occupied with different things so I don't worry about where do I go next. It's really just about having patience."
Williams ended his college basketball career on a high note, helping to send UCF basketball to its first National Invitation Tournament Final Four appearance under first-year coach Johnny Dawkins. Although the Orlando, Fla., native once considered transferring to Wake Forest, Williams recommitted himself to UCF and shattered a slew of records with his stellar long-range shooting.
He left the Knights as the career leader in 3-pointers (274) and set a UCF and American Athletic Conference record for 3-pointers during a season with 126. His 11 3-pointers against Southern Florida in January set a new league and school single-game performance record and was just four off from tying the all-time NCAA record.
Williams' agency is in the process of scheduling NBA workouts with select teams. We caught up with Williams to get the latest on his push to launch a professional basketball career.
Orlando Sentinel: Are you trying to work on specific parts of your game out there in Arizona? Are you trying to slim down or bulk up? What's the goal?
Matt Williams: As far as body type, we just do a lot of stuff that deals with activation of core muscles, gluts, legs, just anything that deals with movements we encounter in basketball. We do a lot of jumping things so we can prevent different injuries in our knees and ankles. Pretty much just regular basketball conditioning. On my side, I'm just trying to get used to the NBA game, the pace of it, and just focusing on making reads. The main thing they teach us here is to make sure we read the court ... it's more so just learning how the NBA game is played.
OS: Who have you been training with?
Williams: I'm just training with other college players that are looking to get ready to enter the draft.
OS: When you met with your agent did he give you a perspective on what the realities would be for you making it in the NBA and what your process would be?
Williams: No. He just told me to continue to work hard and everything else will take care of itself. He said make sure you're doing your part every day and working hard and I'm gonna make sure we're doing our part on our end.
OS: Is playing basketball overseas as an option you're considering as well?
Williams: "We're trying the NBA route first and trying to max out those options. After that, we'll look toward overseas if that's possible.
OS: Who are some of the people you've been in connection with to help guide you through the process? I know there's been several UCF players that have played professionally.
Williams: I haven't really spoken to anybody, just the coaches. Coach Dawkins, Coach (Kevin) Norris, Coach Jamill (Jones), Coach Ricardo (Greer), Coach (Robbie) Lange, the whole UCF coaching staff has helped me out.
OS: What's the advice Coach Dawkins gave you as far as what you should be doing during this time period?
Williams: Before I left, we sat down and he explained to me different things I should do as far as financially and making sure I'm saving my money. He told me just to be myself and do what got me here. He feels like if I just do that then I'll be OK. He said just do what I was doing when I was there (at UCF) and keep working hard.
OS: Everybody's been weighing in with their opinions on what your former teammate, Tacko Fall, should do as far as leaving early for the NBA. Do you think he should stay in school or continue to pursue the opportunity to leave early for the NBA?
Williams: As far as Tacko, I feel like he should just collect as much information from people as he can, from NBA teams, from our coaching staff – a lot of them have gone through what he's going through. Once he gathers the information, he should just follow his heart. As far as our coaching staff, I don't feel like anyone is going to lead him the wrong way ... I don't see him in a bad position. I just feel like he has to first max out his options and at the end of the day, pray on it and decide what he wants.