Get to know Wizards PF and active grad student Johnathan Williams III


WASHINGTON -- Johnathan Williams III wasn't able to walk at his college graduation because basketball got in the way, but he plans to make up for it.

The 6-foot-9 Wizards forward who rejoined the team over the weekend on a two-way contract is five classes away from earning his master's degree in organizational leadership. He is currently enrolled in online courses at Gonzaga University, where he earned his undergraduate business degree, but will have to go back to Spokane, Wash. in the offseason to finish.

"I just want to get it done. I don't want to start something and then leave it be," he told NBC Sports Washington.

Those dreams, plus his basketball career which has now brought him to Washington, make for a busy schedule. But Williams, whom teammates call 'JW3,' can handle the workload.

It fits his personality both on and off the court. He describes his basketball game as all about effort and energy. 

Williams is a blue collar player who takes pride in the less-heralded parts of the game.

"I run the court extremely hard, rebound and play defense. Everything else is just a bonus," he said.

Away from basketball, Williams has a wide range of interests. He likes real estate and may apply his degrees to the field when he someday retires.

Williams says he prays and reads the Bible every day. He is also a big movie buff and has gone to the theaters with Isaac Bonga, his teammate formerly with the Lakers and now the Wizards.

Bonga isn't the only Wizards player he has a history with. He also overlapped with Moe Wagner in L.A. They played together both for the Lakers in the NBA and their G-League affiliate.

And Williams goes even further back with rookie Rui Hachimura. When Hachimura arrived on campus at Gonzaga, Williams was his first roommate.

"His English has grown since the last time I saw him in college," Williams said. "He speaks fluent English now pretty well."

Williams said he took Hachimura under his wing and brought him to his brother's house not far from Gonzaga's campus. They cooked meals for Hachimura like steak and spaghetti.

"Just get him introduced to an American lifestyle," Williams said.

Before reuniting with Bonga, Wagner and Hachimura, Williams spent time overseas playing for Maccabi Rison LeZion in Israel. When he first got the call from the Wizards, he flew 16 hours from Israel to Detroit, MI to play the Pistons.

Now he's back in basketball's top league, hoping to stick around with his former and current teammates.

"We've been through the grind together," he said. "Being in the NBA, this is where everyone wants to be."

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