Patrick Williams agreed to answer a few questions via email after getting selected No. 4 overall in the NBA draft by the Bulls. Here’s our exchange.
Hey Patrick, congrats on being drafted into the NBA, and on behalf of Bulls fans, welcome to Chicago. I remember first watching you play on the EYBL circuit as a rising senior during a weekend in Indianapolis. At the time, you were considered a four-star recruit with a bunch of good offers, but most people did not expect you to be a one-and-done. Now 18 months later, you’re a top five NBA draft pick. At what point during your year at Florida State did you realize your NBA dreams could come true so soon?
I wasn’t even thinking about the NBA to be honest. I was just focusing on winning college games, but I’m grateful for how everything materialized so quickly.
You said you committed to Florida State because you wanted to improve defensively. What lessons from Florida State will you take with you onto the rest of your career?
Versatility. The coaches stressed the importance of being able to guard multiple positions and having the ability to do all things on the court... never taking a play off or anyone for granted defensively.
New Bulls coach Billy Donovan has said that one of the first things he likes to do is ask a player where they feel most comfortable on the court. With the acknowledgment that you are a team-first player who can capably fill a variety of roles, what type of role are you the most confident in right now?
I’m ready to do anything that coach wants me to do. I feel confident that I can help the team anywhere coach puts me on the court and I’m going to keep working to learn each position as well as I can to be ready to go in any situation I’m put in.
You were a point guard early in your high school career before your growth spurt made you a forward. It still seems like you have some point guard skills in your game. You looked pretty impressive in these highlights during a recent open gym run. Why do you feel like you can do more with the ball in your hands than you showed in college?
I worked hard every day over the summer with my trainer Olin Simplis to make sure I’m comfortable with the ball in my hands. It was a big emphasis for us. I’m also confident off the ball and in catch and shoot situations, but continuing to grow with the ball in my hands was a focus of ours.
In addition to trying to get to know you, Patrick, Bulls fans also want to learn about the new front office. You said in a Zoom interview the Bulls’ front office was more basketball smart than other ones you talked to. How did the Bulls front office get to know you as a person and player and what impressed you about Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley?
We went to dinner and talked basketball for hours. The love and knowledge of the game was evident from everyone. It seems like they live and breathe basketball so it was an easy match.
During the draft they showed a video of you working at your mom’s flower shop that was really fun to watch. What are your other interests off the court?
Music wise, I’m always listening to Drake. In terms of hobbies, I’m a family guy and like spending time with my parents and siblings. I’m always watching basketball with my dad and mom when I’m just hanging out at home.
The video of you meeting Diana Taurasi over hologram was really cool to see. Why did you admire Taurasi’s game so much?
I admire her ability to make her teammates better while also being a threat to score the ball herself. She’s also been the best for so long – it speaks to her work ethic.
There have been a couple photos of you rocking WNBA gear. What would you tell basketball fans who are thinking about getting more into the WNBA? Why do you enjoy the league so much? We have a pretty good team in the Chicago Sky, do you plan on supporting them?
I would tell fans looking to get into the WNBA that women’s basketball is some of the best and most efficient basketball you’ll ever see. They do a great job of playing the game the right way and with the right attitude. I definitely plan to support the Sky and some of the players have actually reached out to me and welcomed me to the city.