IF the Golden State Warriors have Draymond Green, the Barako Bull Energy have Draymond Yellow aka Willy Wilson.
The hardworking forward admitted being surprised when teammates began comparing him with the former Michigan State product who was an integral part of the Warriors successful title run in the NBA last season.
The association according to him, may have stemmed from the fact that both he and Green play as an undersized power forward who gets a big man’s job done.
“Basically because I’m undersized and I play big man just like Draymond Green,” said the 35-year-old former De La Salle stalwart when asked about the moniker.
The comparison though, ends there, he stressed.
“But I definitely don’t play like Draymond Green. I don’t think there’s anybody in the world who plays like Draymond Green,” said Wilson. ‘I don’t even know where I’ll be classified. I’m just an undersized big man.”
But looking at the numbers by the end of the eliminations of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup, the 6-foot-3 Barako Bull stalwart, is indeed coming through with Green-like outputs, so much so that he’s the best placed Barako player in the Best Player of the Conference race after averaging career-bests of 17.7 points and 12.0 rebounds.
Wilson is currently ranked sixth in the BPC race and is the smallest of only four men to average in double-doubles this all-Filipino conference dominated by big men June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, and Asi Taulava.
He credits the rejuvenation in his 12-year career to the opportunity being given him by coach Koy Banal.
“He makes me comfortable. He’s basically taken the pressure off and putting me in great spots to contribute to the team and be a factor every game,” said Wilson of his Barako Bull mentor.
“It’s what he's doing for everybody. He’s not asking me to be what I’m not, he’s not asking me to do things that I’m not comfortable doing.”
Wilson’s best game of the conference came in a Barako Bull overtime victory over Talk 'N Text, 105-98, in a match that saw him produced 28 points and 20 rebounds as he held his own against the Tropang Texters’ rookie frontcourt of Mo Tautuaa and Troy Rosario.
He downplays the performance and said those are just one of the days when a player gets into a zone.
‘You’re not gonna see that every game. I wouldn’t say it’s a fluke. But you know the ball has to bounce on the right place. If I get the numbers, it’s great as long as it contributes to a win. That’s all that matters to me,” he said.
Asked if the way he’s playing is a second wind to his career that began at Alaska as the team’s second round pick – 15th overall – during the 2004 draft, Wilson is also lost for words.
“I honestly don’t know. I’m just taking things one game at a time. I’m not looking at the next conference or end of the year or next year. Every game is different. I’m not gonna do the same thing next game that I did this game or the game before. The numbers won’t always be the same, just take things one game at a time,” he said.
But Wilson hopes to sustain his fine form heading to the playoffs especially with eight-seeded Barako Bull needing to beat fifth seed GlobalPort twice to advance to the semifinals.
‘Draymond Yellow’ sees no problem if he doesn’t end up with the same kind of numbers he did before, so long as the Energy emerge victorious.
“If I don’t get any rebounds or any points but we win, then I’m the happiest guy in the world,” he stressed.