By: Dylan Tehada
During the NBA offseason, players around the league invest a lot of time fine tuning their skills and adding to their bag in hopes of making a bigger impact on their respective teams for the upcoming season. Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder is one of these players who invested a lot of time working on his craft and building on his skillset. In fact, Williams spent time training with Coach Packie Turner and working on his game here at the UPB Training Facility. He seeks to build on a very impressive rookie season and make the leap as a leader on a very young Oklahoma City Thunder team.
Jalen Williams was born in Denver, Colorado and moved to Arizona at an early age where he eventually played high school ball. He committed to Santa Clara University where he spent three years playing collegiate hoops. During his time with the Broncos, Williams showed constant growth in his game, improving his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers each year.
After a dominant junior year, where Williams averaged 18 points a game, he declared for the NBA draft and was selected in the first round with the 12th overall pick. He made his mark for the Thunder in his rookie season averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game in addition to winning All NBA Rookie First Team.
The hype around Jalen Williams has been building all offseason as he seeks to make a leap in his sophomore season. In HoopsHype’s top 100 players going into the upcoming season, Williams was ranked number 77 and is fully expected to break out as a star in the league. In addition, the Thunder were voted as the most promising young core in the preseason annual GM survey and Williams is viewed as an integral piece to the highly anticipated youth movement in OKC. Williams is highly regarded by the Thunder franchise especially by the team’s GM Sam Presti who has raved about Williams’ two way prowess.
“He’s just a really natural basketball player. He can play pretty much anywhere on the floor,” Presti said.
Despite a near perfect rookie season, Williams is still looking to improve his skill set and elevate his game to new heights. One skill he is particularly focused on is his three point shooting. Williams has been training with Coach Packie since April 2022 when he was preparing for the draft, and has made major strides in his game since then.
During this past summer, Williams trained with Coach Packie Turner at the UPB Training Facility fine tuning his shooting skills and other aspects of his game. To get a behind the scenes look at the workouts Williams had at the UPB facility subscribe to Coach Packie’s YouTube channel! Coach Packie speaks highly of Williams’ work ethic and anticipates a breakout season from the budding star.
“Jalen is a true student of the game, so he picks things up quickly and loves to learn and work at things he hasn’t figured out yet,” Coach Packie said. “I think this year you see him truly grow into a young star in this league on both ends of the floor. He will be an All Star in this league.”
Julius Randle has been the epitome of constant growth and improvement season after season since his debut in 2014. After an impressive 2022-2023 season with the Knicks averaging 25.1 points per game on 46% shooting, Randle seeks to continue building on last season’s success and contributing to a winning franchise. Although the start of the Knicks’ season has not gone exactly to plan, Randle has showcased his veteran poise and innate ability to continue elevating his game as the long NBA season treads on.