Thunder: Jalen Williams called All-Star Weekend a surreal experience

Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Jalen Williams called it a great honor to participate in the NBA Rising Stars competition at All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Williams was among 11 first-year players selected to play in the showcase game after averaging 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 53 games. He previously earned Rookie of the Month honors and is fourth in scoring among all rookies and first in steals.

He totaled six points, six rebounds and four assists in two games for Team Joakim in the exhibition game on Friday. The event was part of a jam-packed weekend for Williams, and the 21-year-old was excited to take in the festivities.

I think it is just a testament to hard work, putting my nose down and just trusting the grind and understanding it is a marathon and not a race throughout this whole process. I think, even further than that, just growing up and you watch all of the All-Star Games and I think being around here and being involved in an event is really cool and kind of a surreal experience.

The 12th pick had the opportunity to take in the weekend with Thunder teammates Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Gilgeous-Alexander even pulled up to support them in the Rising Stars game and wore Williams’ jersey.

Williams returned the favor during the All-Star Game.

“That’s my little bro; he better wear my jersey,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “It is funny because I wore his on the day of his game. That was the first time he saw his own jersey on me, so I kinda figured he’d do the same thing.”

Williams is emerging as a key player with the Thunder and is a reason the team is 10th in the Western Conference and in the thick of the play-in race. He has certainly earned the support of his teammates already after a strong rookie campaign.

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire