Saskatchewan Rattlers mid-season addition Williams seizing open forward position

Click to play video: 'NBA G League forward Williams joins Saskatchewan Rattlers as new starter'
NBA G League forward Williams joins Saskatchewan Rattlers as new starter
WATCH: Following the departure of Grant Basile, the Saskatchewan Rattlers have a new forward in their mix with Bryson Williams grabbing 13 rebounds in his debut with the CEBL club – Jun 14, 2024

As the newest member of the Saskatchewan Rattlers organization, Bryson Williams is no stranger to a change of scenery over his professional basketball career.

Williams joined the Rattlers mid-season after closing out his final few weeks in the Israeli Basketball Premier League.

“I went to France, I played in Israel, playing with the G League team with guys shuffling in and out all the time,” said Williams. “So you kind of just always have to find your way onto a team and find a way to be productive.”

Three weeks in the 2024 Canadian Elite Basketball League season, Williams has joined a Rattlers team that is in contention with top spot in the entire league.

A two-year veteran of the NBA G League with the Ontario Clippers alongside Rattlers teammate Elijah Harkless and head coach Larry Abney, Williams was able to make his long-awaited debut on Wednesday night in a 104-93 victory by Saskatchewan at SaskTel Centre over the Brampton Honey Badgers.

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“I felt good,” said Williams. “We got a lot of great scorers on this year, I mean Jalen Harris just broke the franchise scoring record last game. So I’m just trying to find my way to do what I can to help this team win in any way possible.”

Williams was extremely noticeable in the first half of his CEBL debut against Brampton, finishing the night with nine points and 13 rebounds which were mostly collected over the first 20 minutes of action.

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While Harris earned the headlines with his CEBL single-game record 45-point performance against the Honey Badgers, he said it was a strong debut by the six-foot-eight wing.

“Bryson’s a dog,” said Harris. “He brings a certain energy, a certain mentality to our team. It’s tough, first game he got into a little foul trouble towards the end that kept him out a little bit. But I’m definitely excited to see his presence more moving forward.”

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan Rattlers guard Jalen Harris sets new CEBL single-game scoring record'
Saskatchewan Rattlers guard Jalen Harris sets new CEBL single-game scoring record

Williams has taken over the Rattlers’ starting forward position which was occupied by Grant Basile over the first six games of the CEBL season.

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Basile has since departed Saskatchewan to train with Italy’s national basketball squad in the hopes of making the team and qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics next month.

While losing the team’s top rebounder and reliable scoring option in Basile was a blow for Abney and the Rattlers, they’ve been happy with how Williams has moved into the role.

“Grant was really, really good for us,” said Abney. “I think better than a lot of people expected, but Bryson coming in it was almost perfect timing. We wish Grant the best and we definitely want him to make the Italian national team, but Bryson is definitely going to be somebody you’ll see who gets better and better each game that he’s here.”

Through his six games to start the season in Saskatchewan, Basile averaged 16.0 points per game and 8.7 rebounds each night.

Three Americans in Williams, Harris and Harkless now line the Rattlers roster, however Abney said the door is open for a potential return for Basile depending on how the next several weeks shake out.

“There is a potential possibility that one of our Americans may get an opportunity at summer league,” said Abney. “If that happens — again hoping that Grant makes that team — but in the event he doesn’t there’s a possibility of bringing him back, absolutely.”

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For now, Williams is preparing for a shot at vaulting the Rattlers into first place in the CEBL this weekend with another tough test on the road against the 6-1 Vancouver Bandits.

“You come in with a team that has great guards, great bigs, a great coach and a community that wants to stand behind their team,” said Williams. “It just makes it all that much easier to just come in, fight for that team and do what it takes to win.”

Saskatchewan handed Vancouver their lone loss of the season on May 30 in a 98-86 victory at SaskTel Centre and trail the Bandits by one game in the CEBL Western Conference with a 5-2 record.

Saturday’s game on the west coast is set for an 8:30 Saskatchewan time tip-off between the Rattlers and Bandits.

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