Written by Thomas Dunn #

It’s not often that Santa Clara basketball has an NBA prospect on their hands, let alone a first round lottery pick. Enter Jalen Williams stage left. The versatile player made a name for himself throughout his three seasons in Silicon Valley, so much so that the Oklahoma City Thunder grabbed him with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 draft.

Williams was officially a campus hero, putting the Santa Clara name into national relevance as teams and media alike fawned at his length, athleticism, and poise. He’s been in discussion for the all rookie first team and even won Western Conference rookie of the month back in December. But how would he pay a visit to his old stomping grounds? The Thunder vs Warriors games don’t line up with the Santa Clara season, so an audible would have to be called.

Jalen Williams Shooting
Image credit to Mercury News

Fortunately, OKC would be playing in Sacramento on Friday, January 20th. 110 miles away, Williams landed in Sacramento and embarked on a two hour drive down to the Leavey Center to see SCU take on BYU. Williams practically was a folk hero, as people asked for autographs, pictures, and interviews. His jersey was being worn by all the students who attended for crying out loud! And to top it all off, Jalen was gracious enough to grant us an interview in our 2nd game back for KSCU sports broadcasting. I mean talk about staking your claim that you’re back in business.

Jalen Williams Driving
Image Credit to Spokesman Review

From talking about his drive down here, to the memories of him in a SCU uniform, to a discussion about chicken, Jalen Williams’s heart still bleeds Bronco red. He’s humble, down to earth, and a rising star all in the same breath, evidenced by giving a resurging campus radio station some of his time when he didn’t have to. Those six minutes were a blur unlike any other, that gave insight to someone who was just like one of us a year ago but was also an out of body experience that illustrated just how far Jalen and the station has come.

Talk about getting something crossed off the bucket list. Jalen is a pro’s pro, and was a great person to interview and get to know.