Former Saint Joseph's standout Garrett Williamson is in the midst of a successful professional international career and has been selected to the team that will represent Canada at the 39th annual William Jones Cup in Tapei, Taiwan. The international tournament runs from July 14-23.
The native of Lower Merion, Pa., played for the Hawks from 2007-10 and was a member of SJU's NCAA Tournament team in 2008. He made his mark as one of the Hawks' all-time best defenders and was a two-time selection to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team. Williamson averaged a career-best 12.1 points as a senior and earned All-Big 5 Second Team honors.
Here's an inside look at Williamson's professional career and value to his team, courtesy of 3D Global Sports Canada:
In the professional basketball world, where a player went to college, how he performed, and the duration he stayed with one team, are all some of the most important variables that help decide if coaches will sign that player to a contract. Some players show up on the box score while others impact the game in ways that statistics simply cannot show. With an NCAA basketball career as a Saint Joseph's Hawk, Garrett Williamson averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in his senior season. Head coach Phil Martelli said of his four-year player, “Garrett played with incredible passion and drive to win at all times. He sacrificed for his teammates and displayed impeccable character off the court. We're proud to call him a Saint Joseph's Hawk.”
Following his graduation from Saint Joseph's, the Austin Spurs selected Williamson in Round 4 with the third pick in the 2010 Annual NBA Development League Draft. He then went on to briefly play for the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA D-League as well before venturing off to the European market and joining Erdgas Ehingen (Pro A Germany).
Playing professional basketball, post-college, is a dream for many young and inspiring basketball athletes. However, playing at the highest levels for several years is not what many college graduates get to experience or endure. There is no such thing as a perfect situation and finding a great place to excel can be challenging. Garrett found a home when he went to Canada to play for the London Lightning in the National Basketball League of Canada in 2013-14. In his first season in the growing NBL-Canada League, he averaged over 18 points, four rebounds and four assists per game while being named the Canadian Player of the Year.
After a dominating performance, Garrett went back to Europe to test the waters and advance his career. He played that year in Greece's top league for AEK Athens. Playing overseas provides an unique perspective and an experience of how basketball can impact an individual's life.
Like anything in life, the decisions we make pave a course for our future. One thing that fuels and motivates athletes is the nature of environment and competing in front of huge crowds with thousands of screaming fans. Besides the Toronto Raptors, the other well-established basketball team in Canada that has created an electrifying atmosphere is the London Lightning, who play their home games out of the Budweiser Gardens. Garrett's choice to return to the NBL-Canada and play for the Lightning was simple. He wanted to live in Canada, be close to home and play in front of the enthusiastic London Lighting crowd.
That year, London went to the NBL-Canada finals and lost in Game 7 to the Halifax Hurricanes. The Lightning were poised to come back and avenge that loss the following season, and keeping a player like Williamson would be a key to achieving that goal. London did just that, defeating Halifax in six games to capture the 2017 NBL-Canada Championship.
After winning the 2016-17 championship, Williamson is teaming up with his Coach Kyle Julius to represent Canada at the 39th William Jones Cup, a prestigious EuroBasket and sanctioned FIBA Asia Cup. Julius knew that Williamson was a must for his Jones Cup roster, and the NBL-Canada Coach of the Year explains, “Garrett plays as hard as anyone I have ever been around. He has the toughness behind our Championship in London. He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle in Taiwan.”
Canada, which has medaled five times in the tournament's 38-year history, will play teams from Asia and the Middle East.
Canada Jones Cup Roster Release Video
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