In the last seasons finding the right nickname for Dragon Rhondorf import players Kameron Taylor and Curtis Hollis wasn´t always easy, but after some hard felt thought, I was able to come up with the appropriate one. For Kameron Taylor saying “It´s Seton Hill and Not Seton Hall was a funny one, because he had often had to tell people his school was Seton Hill and not the more known Seton Hall. For Dallas native Curtis Hollis, I actually didn´t have to do any thinking at all as he came up with the “Easy Work” nickname. I actually never asked him why he picked it, but when looking at his skilled game, often it looked so easy, the way he flew through the air letting his spectacular athleticism go to work. For new Dragons Rhondorf player, William Christmas finding a nickname is a lot easier, because when you have a last name like Christmas, the imagination can really go crazy. What really struck me right away were the phrases William “What do you want for” Christmas or William “What will you get me for” Christmas. Having to hear the non stop phrases about the holiday season referring his last name probably won´t be as much as in the States here in Germany, but overall the constant references to his special last name never bothered the laid back youngster. “I have literally heard every name concerning my last name. It´s a funny thing, but really it´s love that people are showing me. I think it´s cool and it has been something that I have rolled with an owned my whole life. Two things that really stand out are this one person said you should call your daughter Merry, then she would be Merry Christmas. Then there was this kid freshman year in high school who would call me a different holiday each day for a month”, laughed William Christmas. Wiliam Christmas is so much more than just having a famous last name, but a very versatile player that has a unique and special character.
William Christmas who lists Washington State diminutive and shifty guard Tyrell Roberts and current ratiopharm Ulm guard Justin Simon as his toughest foes in the NCAA was born in Oceanside, California and began his basketball career at Oceanside high school. In his senior year he was team MVP averaging 23,0ppg. He was a three time first team all leagues election and second team all county as a senior. He also won the Simon Scholar and Silver President award for excellence in English and math. He then attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (NCAA2) from 2016-2020 playing a total of 106 games. One of the best known players to come out of Cal Poly was Larry Gordon who recently retired after a great 10 plus professional career where he spent six seasons in Germany. Everybody knew about Gordon´s legacy there and coach Kamansky didn´t mention his name too much. “Coach motivated us and pushed us to create our own legacy”, remembered William Christmas. He was able to improve his scoring average each season and in his last three seasons put up 12/6, 15/6 and 16/7 stats. He scored in double figures in 68 games in his four year career. He nailed Chico State for 31 points in a win and 31 points against Cal State Bernadino in a tough 95-94 loss. It is often the bitter loses that players remember most. “I had some great games in big loses. I missed some potential game winning shots. My team relied on me a lot to take those tough shots. Unfortunately it wasn´t always the result we wanted”, remembered Will Christmas. But what was worse then losing those tough games was losing in the CCAA final three times in a row. Only the Buffalo Bills were worse losing in 4 Super Bowl finals. “The loses were heartbreaking. I felt somewhat proud getting to the final. It is tough to get to three finals, but even tougher to lose three in a row. I hope I can somewhat turn the streak around with the Dragons”, warned Will Christmas. The forward who would never have lost a one on one battle against teammate Tavian Henderson had a stellar career at Cal Poly winning CCAA freshman of the year award and was a three time tournament and first teams election. He understands that head coach Greg Kamansky had a lot to do with his development and becoming the player he did in his four years there. “The most important thing that coach helped me was getting me stronger and playing physical. The pro level is more physical and you have to be ready. He also helped me take good shots, take pride on defense and just do the little things”, stressed William Christmas.
The California native who last saw the movie Seven was a Kinesiology major at Cal Poly and instead of turning professional in 2020, he opted to remain in school and get his degree. This is an act that one doesn´t see often today as guys are in a hurry to get money and help provide for their family. He took a different route and instead wanted to have that degree in the bag before the contract. Just doing this and declining to be a professional player at first shows just how much of a role model he is for young kids. “I feel very good that I did this. It is important that a player makes right decisions in life and know what happens after basketball. I´m very happy to have a degree. We all love the game, but we also need to have longer term views”, warned William Christmas. Even if physical therapy is his field of knowledge and he will have an advantage knowing how to take care of his body, he isn´t sure what he will do after basketball. “Right now it is still up in the air. Knowing about my body is a plus for sure. It is important to create good habits and use the knowledge that I have attained. I know more about the body then the average person. Maybe I will get into coaching one day”, expressed William Christmas. Having so much success on the floor at Cal Poly and being able to shine in the class room wasn´t hard enough, everything was really put to the test with COVID as it arrived in March 2020. He won´t forget all the challenges that he had to accept and master to achieve his goals in the last year and a half. The guy was so busy that one has to wonder how he found the time to get everything done. “The biggest challenge was taking so many classes online as well as always being ready to play. Plus being in the gym and having a job”, stated William Christmas. During the Pandemic, the ambitious guy didn´t have one job, but actually had three jobs. “I worked for Amazon in a warehouse, also did behavioral therapy and worked in a car park factory on the assembly line”, said William Christmas. People experienced so many new things during COVID that effected their lives, but also helped them get stronger as people and it wasn´t any different for the young man. “I was by myself a lot early during lock down. I had to develop a certain level of focus and make tough decisions. I learned how to work on things in certain situations not having my family around. This really helped me grow as a man”, commented William Christmas.
Now the ex CCAA 2020 Regular season Co champion who lists Jordan Ogundiran, Jeremy Dennis, PJ Dozier, Phoenix Shackelford and Johnny Dee as his best teammates of all-time is playing his rookie professional season for German Pro B team Dragons Rhondorf. He obviously got some well needed advice from Larry Gordon, but also from ex German teammate at Cal Poly Finn Eckhardt. “I also talked to Jordan Faison who played in the Pro B. They all said good things about the country. They all said that playing in Germany is an easy transition and all know English. They also said the league is a good place to start as a rookie. I thought that playing with the Dragons was the best opportunity to maximize how much I will be able to improve my game my first year”, warned William Christmas. Also going into a new situation, it is always vital overseas that one has a good feeling about management and the coaching staff. He felt something special after having talks with CEO Yassin Idbihi. “He is a genuine good person. He works for all in the organization. I find it important that he has experience and did it all at a high level. He can show the way and it is great to have a guy that you can always call on when you need something”, stressed William Christmas. He will match up against very talented players in the Pro B and even will meet up with a player Vincent Golson who is playing his third professional season with the Rhein Stars Cologne that played in the CCAA conference with California State University Dominguez Hills(NCAA2). “It´s crazy but I actually saw his name on a stat sheet recently here. I remember everyone calling him two two. He was a very good player and shows how strong the conference was. That gives me a sense of pride of where I played”, added William Christmas.
So what kind of player will German basketball fans see this season with William Christmas who lists his personal NBA Mount Rushmore with legends like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant(his favorite player) and other Laker greats Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar? When asked who he would compare his game best to, there was a long pause, but after a long thinking moment he came up with Oklahoma Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Christmas is a player that can do it all and guard the positions 1-4. He is crafty, long and like a slithery snake, but his biggest strength is his versatility something that ex Rhondorf guard Kameron Taylor possessed four years ago. “I´m a guy that can put it on the floor and make things happen at both ends of the court. I think having been a player that could always do what is needed kept me on the court”, warned William Christmas. His three pointer is still a work in progress, but nothing that he is worried about. “My mechanics are solid. For me it has been more a matter of getting up reps, being confident and shot selection. You make more shots if you take better shots. I am always ready game time”, stressed Wiliam Christmas. Even if he can fill up the stat sheet with ease and be that impact player on the offensive end, he will also make waves on the defensive end. It is here that he takes very much pride. Obviously his athleticism plays a big part for his success, but there is also something different that helps him excel. “Playing defense is one of the most important aspects for me. I want to shut down guys and make it very tough for them against me. My athleticism is vital, but so is my length and basketball IQ”, warned William Christmas. He is constantly working on his game to be the best player he can be. “Shooting is the number one thing I´m working on. Another thing is working on my decision making. Making smart decisions on the floor keeps you on the court”, stressed William Christmas. Even if the Rhondorf organization stresses youth development, the American will see many minutes this season and should also make the fans happy with his play. He also may here the one or another Christmas joke in English, but that is something that he has been used to his whole life. Basketball and Christmas go hand in hand for the amiable American who will enrich the Dragons organization with his versatility and character.