Former University High School star Kenrich Williams went undrafted Thursday night, but he will still get his shot to play in the NBA when he joins the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Summer League.
Though Williams didn’t become the first TCU player drafted since Lee Nailon in 1999, he’s confident that he can play in the NBA by exploring the free agent route.
The Nuggets will open NBA Summer League play against the Minnesota Timberwolves July 6 at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. The Summer League features rookies and other young players.
Williams is used to being overlooked and proving doubters wrong.
“It feels good to be the underdog and come in and work,” Williams said. “It’s like high school all over again. I didn’t get a scholarship out of high school, so I’ll just work hard and try to get in the NBA.”
Williams watched the draft at the South Waco Community Center with family and friends.
“It’s a blessing,” Williams said. “I got my close family and friends and they were able to come out and we spent time together.”
Overlooked by Division I schools at University, Williams signed with New Mexico Junior College before transferring to TCU where he emerged as a versatile player who could make an impact on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
The 6-7, 210-pound small forward averaged 13.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a senior to lead the Horned Frogs to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998. He also gained a reputation as an outstanding defensive player as he collected 56 steals in 32 games.
“I can do a lot of things offensively and defensively,” Williams said. “I’m versatile, I can guard a lot of positions, I’ve got a good IQ for the game. I’m a decent 3-point shooter and a solid rebounder. I’m mature and I work hard.”
The 23-year-old Williams traveled across the country to work out for 15 NBA teams before the two-round draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
One of his biggest goals is to become a better long-range shooter after hitting 36.3 percent of his 3-pointers as a junior and 39.5 percent as a senior for the Horned Frogs.
“I want to be able to knock down the open 3-point shot and be consistent at that,” Williams said.
During his four years at TCU, he consistently improved as he overcame a knee injury in the 2015-16 season to deliver all-around solid performances as a junior and senior. He averaged 11.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior to help the Horned Frogs win the 2017 NIT championship.
Williams believes the Horned Frogs will continue to improve as they look forward to their third season under coach Jamie Dixon.
“TCU was the best four years of my life,” Williams said. “Coach Dixon worked arewas of my game and he helped me improve a lot. We made strides every year and made the tournament for the first time in 20 years this past year. The future is bright for TCU basketball.”