2001 - PLAY OFF CHAMPIONS
PLACE OF BIRTH:
William Lee came to the Riders in the offseason from the G-League, having spent time with the Iowa Wolves. The 6’9” forward enjoyed an illustrious high-school career, earning him the title of ‘Mr Basketball’ for the state of Alabama. When he committed to his home town college, the University of Alabama, he was one of the most lauded players to sign there for several years. Lee left an immediate impression on Alabama’s history, draining a go-ahead jumper which ultimately led to them upsetting #3 ranked Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Lee shot a red-hot 45% from three in his freshman year on his way to eight points a game.
Lee, nicknamed ‘ha-ha’, went on to play three further years for Alabama, averaging 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks a game in his senior year. He racked up a total of 291 blocks throughout his college career, the most from a player in Alabama history. Playing for the same college as seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry once did, this is a tremendous achievement. Lee now brings his shot-blocking talents, which helped him earn the defensive player of the year award twice in college, to the Riders, where he will use his huge vertical and great timing to swat away shots at the rim.
Lee’s elite shot-blocking isn’t his only asset on the defensive end. His ability to step out onto the perimeter and defend smaller players, using his 6’11” wingspan and lateral quickness, make him a great asset defending the pick and roll. Lee is also a great presence for the Riders when they go into a defensive zone. His quick first step and long strides allow him to protect the paint, while still enabling him to get out to the perimeter and contest shots. On the glass, Lee is a great rebounder. He has a knack for reading where the ball will come down off the rim, before using his vertical and wingspan to grab contested rebounds. He also uses his rebounding ability on offence, resulting in putbacks with his touch at the rim.
Inside the paint, Lee is excellent at avoiding contact, using a delicate touch to drop in floaters and lay-ups. He is explosive getting off the ground, possessing high-flying ability to perform highlight plays, throwing the ball down at the rim. He very willingly gets out in transition to run the fast break, getting plenty of opportunities to attack the hoop running the floor. Lee is a great weapon in the pick and roll since he is so dangerous when driving towards the hoop. This causes defenders to drop off to cover the paint, leaving Lee wide open should he decide to drop off to the three-point line.
With his ability to hit the three consistently enough to punish defenders, Lee can do damage from the three-point line, making him effective in the pick and pop. He has good shooting mechanics and a high release point, allowing him to get his shot off over taller defenders. Lee can hit the mid-range shot off the dribble consistently, which is an effective weapon for him to beat a defender closing out. Lee can utilise his quick first step to drive by the defender, before pulling up from mid-range, using the high release on his jump shot to get his shot off.
Early in the season, Lee’s game has integrated seamlessly into his first BBL season. He leads the Riders in rebounds and is a big contributor of points to the team. With his emphatic blocks and electric dunks, ‘haha’ has left Riders fans giddy so far this year.