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ESPN does amazing profile on former Wolfpacker CJ Williams

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We’ve covered CJ Williams pretty extensively on this site and before his 2-way contract ran out, he was the most interesting story in the NC State Universe. Now ESPN is starting to realize that.

Once a 3-star prospect out of Jack Britt HS in Fayetteville, Williams spent his first 3 seasons as a role player for the Wolfpack. By his senior year, he was evolving into a leader but still wasn’t on anybody’s radar to play in the NBA. In fact, Williams bounced around overseas and in the D-League until this season. Now at age 28, he finally got to live out his NBA dream.

Williams was picked up by the Clippers as a reserve on a 45-day, 2-way contract. Long story short, he ended up starting, being a major contributor to the Clippers and even delivering a game-winning buzzer beater against the Hawks.

Then his contract ran out.

The life of a 2-way NBA player is rough. Even if you produce, the team is still (usually) in no situation to sign you to a full-time contract. Meaning, you get sent back down to the G-League.

It’s an interesting dynamic that’s starting to play out more often in the NBA and ESPN is taking note. They recently examined the life of a 2-way player and profiled none-other than CJ Williams for their piece.

Williams discusses  how he got to the Clippers and what his mindset was during his tryouts.They then show a timeline of his journey. which we really advise you to check out.

There is a debate on if the 2-way contract helps or hurts these players and that is kind of a running narrative throughout this piece. Here is a take from Lawrence Frank (Director of Basketball Ops for the Clippers)

“Because of the two-way, not only has he helped us, he’s shown that he’s an NBA player. Without a two-way contract, who knows? Maybe no one would have known that C.J. Williams is an NBA-roster player. And this opportunity will be a game-changer and potentially a life-changer.”

For Wolfpack fans and really all college basketball fans, this is a feel-good story about a guy who never stopped dreaming. Goes to show what hard work coupled with true belief will get you.

Here is the summary of CJ’s interview…

 

CJ talks about his road to the NBA

  • Knew he’d get here, just didn’t know how
  • Agents laughed at my NBA dreams, said they didn’t think it was a good plan
  • Didn’t have the best college career, knows that.
  • Walked into Clippers facility and thought “You belong”. Wasn’t a G-Leaguer trying to make NBA, was an NBA guy getting a shot.
  • First time stepping on the court with the team, had to guard Lou Williams.
  • Tell young guys to not give up on the dream. Have to have the mentality of  “I’m not going to fail”
  • Told every agent I want to be in NBA. Only one agent said “Ok, let’s make a 5 year plan.” 5 years later, made the NBA. (That agent was former NC State player Jamie Knox.)

 

CJ talks about hitting his game-winner vs. the Hawks

  • No one knew my name in the NBA circles, then I hit the game winner.
  • Was cool to see my name on the NBA’s twitter page and Instagram
  • Amazing to look back at where I was to where I am now

 

CJ talks about crazy travel between G-League and NBA

  • Living out of a suitcase. Always have one ready
  • Tough stretch near Thanksgiving. Went all over the nation really fast. Hectic. 6am flights were tough on me
  • Keeps you tired and had to nap
  • It’s been a blessing. Glad for every moment.

 

CJ talks about the difference in playing in front of an NBA crowd

  • 20 people in stands for G-Leauge. It’s weird after playing in front of huge arena.
  • With technology, anyone can see you at any time. People can watch what you did.
  • Always have to work hard. A little tough and strange, but you find a way to do it if you’re a competitor.

 

Pack in the Pros

JR Sweezy Signs 2-Year Deal With Arizona Cardinals

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Former NC State Defensive Tackle, converted to Offensive Guard in the NFL, JR Sweezy has signed a 2-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, staying in the NFC West.

Sweezy was originally drafted by the Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft (225th overall), and was quickly converted into an offensive lineman. He worked his way up to becoming the full-time starter at Right Guard for Seattle in 2013, and held the spot for three seasons before signing a 5-year $32.5 million contract with Tampa Bay. Sweezy missed the entire 2016 season due to back problems, but returned to start 14 games for the Bucs last year, before finishing the season on the Injured Reserve.

Last year, Sweezy returned to the Seahawks, and started in all 15 games he played in.

Sweezy is entering his 8th year in the NFL, and his 7th season playing. He has started in 78 of the 88 games he has played in since entering the league in 2012.

 

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Mike Glennon Released by Cardinals

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Former NC State Quarterback Mike Glennon has officially been released by the Arizona Cardinals.

Glennon signed a 2-year $8 million contract prior to the 2018 season as a backup. He was cut prior to a $500,000 roster bonus due to him on March 17th.

While only seeing action in 2 games in Arizona, Glennon walked away with $4 million. He completed 15 of 21 passes foe 174 yards and 1 touchdown in those two games.

Glennon has played in the NFL 6 seasons, and made $27,446,782.

We will have to wait and see where Glennon lands next.

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Washington Wants Trea Turner to Steal All the Bases

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Trea Turner ranked 2nd in the Major League last year in stolen bases, but the Washington Nationals want him to take it up a notch.

“If he attempts 75 to 80, we’ll be in great shape,” Martinez said, and that would make Turner one of the more aggressive base runners in recent memory. (WP)

Turner ranked 2nd in the majors with 43 stolen bases last year, and his 46 stolen bases two years ago ranked 3rd.

75-80 stolen base attempts would be a career high for Turner…by a long shot.

Turner ranked 2nd in the Major’s last season with 52 attempts. Only 13 players have attempted 75 stolen bases in a single season in the past 18 seasons.

“Any time a coach pushes you to do something that you think is a little crazy, I think that’s them believing in you that you can do it,” Turner said. “It’s possible. It’s still a lot, but it’s possible. I think I’m going to have to do a lot of things right, and hopefully get a shot at accomplishing it.” (WP)

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Dennis Smith Jr Dunks Over J. Cole, Finishes 2nd in 2019 NBA Dunk Contest

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Former NC State ACC Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. competed in the NBA Dunk Contest on Saturday night, and finished 2nd behind Hamidou Diallo.

Smith’s best dunk of the contest was a soaring leap over rapper J. Cole, which earned him a score of 50. He also picked up another 50 score for vaulting over Dwayne Wade and catching an alley oop from Stephen Curry.

The highlights are below.

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