Alan Williams was presented the 2017 Marjele Hustle Award prior to the Suns Wednesday night matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Since 2003, the award has been presented at the end of each season to the Suns player who most personified the hustle and determination that Dan Majerle displayed as a player.
Alan Williams Wins 2017 Majerle Hustle Award
But who is this man known as Big Sauce?
Growing up in Phoenix, Williams was named Arizona State Player of the Year his senior season. He spent the next four years attending UC Santa Barbara where he led the entire NCAA in rebounding his junior and senior year.
His focus and determination carried him after going undrafted in 2015. He signed a one year deal to play in the Chinese Basketball Association where he led the league with 15.4 rebounds.
Williams’ first workout with the Suns didn’t go so well. It was stopped short after just ten minute as he was told to go home because he was out of shape. A week later he came back and proved himself enough to get a ten-day contract. He finished out the final game of the Suns 2015-2016 season with his first career double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks).
He followed this up by becoming the only player to average a double-double during the 2016 NBA Summer League and being named All-NBA Summer League First Team. He averaged 11.8 points and a league-leading 11.2 rebounds.
“This is a game of skill and talent,” Head Coach Earl Watson said. “And sometimes heart and effort and determination is more important. A lot of times actually, and character. And he plays with it every night.”
Fast-forward to Wednesday night, his hustle continued to shine on the court. Williams put up 16 points while grabbing a career-high 17 boards. This was the most rebounds by a Suns in 25 minutes-or-less since Maurice Lucas in 1985.
Alan Williams Puts Up Double-Double vs Warriors
“The kid is writing a phenomenal story for himself,” Watson said. “He deserves it to be honest with you. It’s not coincidence. He’s been playing that way all year.”
This was his 15th career double-double and his 11th since the All-Star break. The constant effort he displays on the court was recognized as he received one of the highest Suns honors in the Majerle Hustle Award.
“Oh it’s big time,” Williams said. “It’s definitely cool to put one in my trophy case. It’s awesome especially coming from a player like Dan Majerle.”
Although the journey wasn’t always easy, Williams has made the most of any opportunity he has been given.
“Just want to thank the organization for giving me a chance,” Williams said. “And the coaching staff for putting me in the right position to play and of course my teammates for supporting me throughout it all. Of course, the fans and fellow Phoenicians that I win this award for.”
Highlights: Suns 111 Warriors 120
Although the Suns could not pull off the comeback against the Warriors, Big Sauce continues to make a name for himself in this league.
Williams and the Suns remain at home as they gear up to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. Catch the action on FOX Sports Arizona.