View from the Sky: Gabby Williams' WNBA rookie diary

ByGabby Williams as told to Sean Hurd | espnW ESPN logo
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Editor's note: Former UConn star Gabby Williams, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, is ready for the next chapter of her basketball journey. From her fight to earn a role in the Chicago Sky's rotation to the superhero aficionado's review of "Avengers: Infinity War," Williams details her life as a rookie in the WNBA both on and off the floor. Check back in two weeks for Williams' next installment on espnW.

CHICAGO -- Kia Nurse, Azura Stevens and I have all gotten "welcomed" to the league. Mine was in practice the other day. Coach [Amber] Stocks got on me when we were doing a shell defense drill. She said, "You think you can guard Angel McCoughtry or Maya Moore like that?"

That's when I was like, "Man, that's really who I might have to guard pretty soon." My coaches at UConn would say things like that, but it was always hypothetical.

Now it's real.

I came into training camp ready to absorb everything. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The game is a lot more physical. The pace of play when we're scrimmaging is definitely faster.

It's tough right now. Everybody is trying to make the team, and it's been really competitive. We had two players get waived yesterday (Amber Harris and Makayla Epps), and I think that's when it hit everyone: This is a business. It's not college anymore. There are no second chances here.

The business aspect of it is really different for me. It's eye-opening.

The first two days of training camp we had double days. I'm up at 5:45 a.m. so I can get ready, eat and feed my new cat, Halle Berry. I'm at the facility by 7:30 a.m. to get taped, on the court for pre-practice by 8:30 a.m. After practice, I'm back at my apartment for a little, then return to the gym for a second practice. I get back around 7:30 p.m. It hasn't been too bad.

Coach Stocks is really intense, but she's a lot of fun. She's very assertive, very particular and doesn't want to waste any time -- you can definitely see that. From Day 1, the coaching staff focused on making sure that I have an aggressive mindset. Every time I pass something up, Coach Stocks gets on me, which is different for me. She wants me to have a scorer's mentality where once I get into the paint I can facilitate.

It's perfect that Stef Dolson is here. It's funny because she actually hosted me on my first visit to UConn, and she's kind of hosting me again. I'm trying to pick her brain as much as possible. Off the court too, from shoe deals to how we interact when we travel.

Closing out 'the UConn chapter'

It's been such a whirlwind since the day of the draft, I haven't really been able to soak in everything. From the moment I woke up to the time my name was called, I was just panicked. My close friend, who is like a brother to me, told me to "feel all of it." Everyone else was telling me to relax, and he was the only one who told me to feel that anxiousness and not to miss any moment of it. I think that was the best advice I received. I got to really feel and capture the whole night.

Diamond DeShields (the third overall pick, also by Chicago) and I text all the time. I've been watching her games in Turkey. I've been trying to tell her what it's like at camp and what's going on. I haven't talked to Kia since camp started, and me and Z (Stevens) are playing phone tag right now.

I think because it all happened so fast, I didn't really have a choice but to close out the UConn chapter. It feels like I've been gone a lot longer than I actually have been. My coaches have all reached out to me and asked how camp is going -- they send me reminders to trust myself. The weird part is when I talk to my [former UConn] teammates and they're talking about what they're doing for the summer and I have nothing to do with that anymore.

I met with all the coaches after the season. Coach [Geno] Auriemma asked me what my approach was going to be like going into the pros. We talked about redoing my freshman year. I had a lot of things that I regret from my freshman year that I wish I could get back, and this is kind of my opportunity to do that. He told me that the only person that holds me back is myself, and if I can have confidence in what I do I'll be fine.

Marisa Moseley (former UConn assistant who was hired as head coach at Boston University) told us she was going to BU before it went public. The first thing I thought was I'm so happy this happened now, because without Marisa, I would not have made it through those four years. I made sure she knows that. I couldn't be more proud of her. I have so much love for her and I'm just excited to see what she does for that program.

'Full nerd mode'

Editor's note: Spoilers ahead!

I live in Northbrook, which is like a Chicago suburb. I went to a dine-in theater by myself; Stef hadn't returned from Seattle yet. I've never gone on opening night by myself, but I couldn't miss it, so I just went.

It was stressful. There was no one for me to grab on to or shake. I got into my car and sent a voice memo screaming to all my friends, and I was like, "GUYS! I loved it." I was going to go again the next day, but after I went through that distress I couldn't put myself through it again.

Watching Spiderman's death hurt. Watching Vision die twice was just rude. The whole time you are trying to predict it, then when it all happens you're shook. Anyone who knows me knew I swore it was the end for Captain America. So when he survived I was happy, but I think that means he's going to be gone for real in the next movie. I'm in full nerd mode right now.

Tracks of training camp

"Tunnel Vision" by Rina Sawayama

"After the Storm" by Kali Uchis, feat. Tyler, the Creator

"Marvelous Day" by Kap G, feat. Lil Uzi Vert and Gunna

"ATM" by J. Cole

"Blue Lights" by Jorja Smith

With everything going on with Kanye right now, it's just like, "Thank God we got Cole."

Kicks of the week

Nike LeBron 15 PK80. I got this pair when we played in the PK80 tournament last November.

Meal of the week

Chicken tikka masala.

Vegan life is over. It went from vegan to vegetarian to pescetarian to now I don't eat red meat. That's a lie; I had a burger the other day. I'm trying not to eat out, so I'm cooking every night.