Akeem Williams was lounging on his bed in his Brockton home Monday, watching television.
At about 7 p.m., his cell phone rang. It was his agent, Jim Buckley, calling with news that transformed a mundane day into one of the most memorable moments of Williams' life.
Buckley told Williams the Boston Celtics were inviting the former UMass Lowell guard to a pre-draft workout Wednesday at their training facility in Waltham.
"I thought it was a prank call," Williams joked. "After the phone call I literally jumped out of bed and went right back to the gym to work out. At the end of last season, I wasn't expecting a team from the NBA to call me. So I'm playing with house money and I have nothing to lose."
Williams is a local kid. He's from Brockton, attended The Winchendon School before UMass Lowell, and played AAU for the Boston Warriors out of Belmont. He grew up a passionate Celtics fan and considers playing at TD Garden in high school among his greatest sports moments.
So, when he donned Celtics gear on a court with a giant Celtics logo beneath championship banners, he was understandably ecstatic.
"Honestly, it was huge just to be (at the workout)," Williams said. "It's a dream come true."
The 5-foot-10 Williams was one of six players to work out for the Celtics in front of head coach Brad Stevens, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, and director of player personnel Austin Ainge. The other players in attendance were forward Clint Capela (Switzerland), forward Adreian Payne (Michigan State), forward Eric Moreland (Oregon State), forward Victor Rudd (South Florida) and guard Michael Dixon (Memphis).
The workout lasted over two hours, as the players played three-on-three, and ran through an array of drills and situational basketball (pick-and-rolls, ball screens, defensive positioning, etc.).
During competitive drills, Williams matched up with the 6-foot-1 Dixon, the only other guard at the workout.
"It went very well. I thought I played well," said Williams, who graduated last month with a degree in psychology. "You can always shoot better, but I thought I shot well. (Stevens and the Ainges) said I did great and they were happy to have me. I think I held my own. I never hung my head if I made a mistake."
UMass Lowell head coach Pat Duquette was in Waltham for the workout and was impressed with how his former star guard handled himself.
"I thought it went great," Duquette said. "He looked like he belonged. It's great for Akeem, he deserved this invite."
Williams received minimal interest from Division 1 colleges coming out of high school. He chose UMass Lowell, a Division 2 program until this past school year when it joined the America East Conference.
The 190-pound Williams made the most of his one shot at Division 1 college basketball. He was named to the America East All-Conference Second Team after leading the league in scoring at 15.8 points per game. Williams finished his career third on the UML all-time scoring list with 2,057 points, and reached double digits in 105 of 114 games in his career.
He led the River Hawks to a surprising 10-18 record in their inaugural D1 campaign. He was also tested against the likes of Michigan and Cincinnati.
This spring he signed on with Buckley and Frank Catapano of Pro Partner Sports Management. Austin Ainge was familiar with Williams' game and reached out to his agents with the Celtics' invite.
Williams brought the same basketball philosophy to Waltham he has always used.
"I feel like in my entire career playing basketball I was never on a highly-ranked team that got a ton of exposure," said Williams. "I think having that in the back of my mind makes me have more to prove."
Williams splits his time working out in Brockton, Lowell and Beverly. As of now, he has no other workouts for NBA teams lined up. He hopes the Celtics' workout will open up more opportunities.
The NBA Draft is June 26.
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