Monday 22nd April 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Hoop Docs Exclusive Interview With Pistons Guard Will Bynum

“I have thousands and thousands of chips on my shoulder”

January 20, 2010 – Matt Anaya

Matt graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in May of 2007 majoring in TV Production. Matt is currently a writer at,,,,,, 2 Much Swag, and Matt will provide you with insightful wit and an eager eye for sports.

Don’t call Will “The Thrill” Bynum a journey man or say he has bounced around ‘too much’, because according to Will each stop is just another set of lessons he has learned while playing hoops all over the world.

“I don’t think I was bouncing around because I had a guaranteed deal coming out of college with the Celtics. It was just a process, a growing process, and I don’t consider it bouncing around because I learned from my experiences. It made me who I am today and it continues to make me a better person on and off the court,” Bynum recently told me in an interview.

Thrill came out of high school not as a major recruit but as a solid one and every college program loves a tough Chicago guard on their roster. Not known for their shooting but for their toughness, a true Chicago guard has more than one chip on their shoulder.

“I have always had a chip on my shoulder, and actually I have thousands and thousands of chips on my shoulder.”

When I say tough, I do not mean The Wire tough but Will comes from a high school located on the infamous West Side of Chicago. Only a few blocks away from the United Center, the city of Chicago has tried to clean up the area where Bynum is from since the mid 1990s (Jordan era), but it is not a neighborhood you want to get lost in.

After graduating from Crane High School (Celtics G/F Tony Allen and Kansas Univeristy Guard Sherron Collins also come from Crane) in 2001, Thrill enrolled at the University of Arizona and played two seasons at UofA with what Bynum calls, “the best team I ever played on.”

Players like Jason Gardner, Andre Iguodala, Channing Frye, Salim Stoudemire, Luke Walton, and Hassan Adams filled that team’s roster, which eventually lost to a Kirk Hinrich and Drew Gooden lead Kansas Jayhawks team in the Elite 8.

But Bynum could not stick around Tucson, AZ for very much longer because his mother got sick and he had to transfer closer to his family. Bynum transferred to Georgia Tech, where he has family in the ATL, and where he spent the remainder of his college career.

“My mother got sick and I was not going to comeback to Chicago because I thought it was going to be a distraction.”

Transferring was just another obstacle life threw at Will and it lead him to playing against future Pistons teammates Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in the 2004 National Title game.

“Yeah, they (Charlie and Ben) always killing me about it (laughing),” Bynum said.

After college Bynum felt slighted by a few NBA teams because he was not drafted but that fueled his fire.

“I definitely thought I should have been drafted because I worked my tail off my whole life and it has been everything to me. It hurt to not be drafted. It hurt me a lot but it did not crush me, it helped push me, it helped motivate me. Every time I was in the gym, I thought about the names being called, every shot, every sprint, I was thinking about that stuff. It fueled me.”

Will received a guaranteed deal out of college from the Celtics but played two seasons in Europe for the biggest team in Israel. If you think fans are crazy here, hoop fans in Israel expect Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team Bynum played for, to win every game. Now that is pressure.

Thousands of miles away from his family Bynum never lost focus on his main goal, to play in the NBA close to his family and friends.

“I love the game so I am always working. I never really get time to get outside the box and think about my life. It is the same as when I was in Europe, the only difference is I am (now) playing in the United States, closer to my family.”

Although playing on one of the worst teams in the NBA and after the Pistons lost 13 games in a row, Bynum kept his head high while battling through injuries and the losing streak.

“Both (injury and losing streak) are very frustrating. I have never been injured to the point where I sit out this many games (he has not played since December 27) and I always play through injuries. It is extremely frustrating (the injury) to keep having these kinds of problems and of course on top of that, losing twelve in a row (actually lost 13 straight) is pretty crazy.”

Frustrated he cannot help his team win Bynum credits Kwame Brown with keeping the team loose during hard times and says Ben Wallace has taught him a lot about being a professional.

Bynum enjoys playing in warm weather but will let his agent “worry about that mess” as the Thrill becomes a free agent next season, adding another chapter in Will Bynum’s long strange NBA trip.

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