Coming straight out of Southfield, Mich., Jonathan Williams is a 23-year-old graduate from the University of Toledo with plenty of ambition.
At UT, Williams was a 2-year consecutive 3rd team ALL MAC and the Top 5 scorer in his school history at 1,757 points. His talents caught the attention of his current agent, Andy B who eventually helped him get contracted to the GTK Gliwice team in Poland.
“My agent showed a lot of interest in me after college,” says Williams. “He told me he wanted to represent me for my professional career.”
Jonathan says that it was mostly the basketball teams overseas that reached out with interest after viewing his college highlights.
“The individual and team success that I had in college played a big factor in gaining interest from international teams,” says Williams.
When asked what was the qualifications to be contracted to play abroad, Jonathan says there weren’t any specific requirements to be considered.
“An athlete that can play should be good enough in most cases,” says Williams. “You just have to get the attention of a team. The coach and organization just have to believe that you can help their program elevate.”
Williams began his rookie season with GTK Gliwice in August 2017 where he did a month of training camp. Following, he had a preseason tournament in September before the actual season started in November.
Jonathan was positioned as a combo guard, playing point and shooting guard. He led his team in scoring by 15 points average throughout the season. Alongside of that accomplishment, Jonathan was also able to travel while playing.
“I visited different places in Poland including Kracow, Katowice, Dombrowa, and Warsaw,” says Williams. “ I only had time to visit two other countries which was Prague and Germany.”
Jonathan says that a few other positives about playing abroad are learning about different cultures, site seeing, eating different foods, learning new languages, and learning to be more independent. However, there are some downfalls to playing overseas too.
“You have to be away from family and friends for 8 to 10 months,” says Williams. “You also have to learn to adapt to the different lifestyle and be in an environment where not too many people can relate to you.”
In addition to facing and adjusting to cultural differences in a foreign country, Jonathan also talks about how the Polish league contrasts with the American league.
“The whole system is different,” says Williams. “They have less athletic players, some rules are different, they’re more aggressive, there’s a lot of illegal screens, and they enforce sharing the basketball more.”
In the Jonathan plans on leveling up and moving to a different country now that his rookie year is over. He has interest in playing in Italy, Spain or Turkey.
“My goals are to move to a more dominant country, perfect my craft, make the playoffs and be a key asset to whatever team I’m playing for.”
He also has dreams of eventually moving his talents back to the states one day.
“My ultimate dream was to play in the NBA, but everything doesn’t workout how you want when you want it to,” says Williams. “Playing overseas is a great opportunity to showcase my talents. Hopefully with the success here, I can get a NBA look and possibly a workout or tryout.”
When asked to share some advice with anyone aspiring to be a part of the international league, Jonathan’s response was to be mentally strong and have a positive attitude.
“There were times where things got hard for me and I had to be mentally strong to make it through.”
Jonathan also advised those who are aspiring to be to have fun.
“At times you have a countdown of when you get to fly back home in your head, but that only makes time go slower. When you enjoy yourself, time by goes faster.”
To find more information about the Polish Basketball League click here.