From the snow to the sun, former Porterville College basketball player Alton Williams has recently returned to the area after a decade of living in different places to open the first Pro-Am Basketball League in Fresno history.

With current and former collegiate and pro athletes, the six-week experience is designed for athletic skill development and community engagement. The first of the games were hosted on June 18 and will continue through to July 23.

Williams has had it busy in the interceding time with raising his three kids, and getting married, after hs playing career at Montana State University-Northern. “I've worked my way trying to live and learn; thankfully with my wife's help, making the Pro-Am League has been possible,” Williams said.

After a stellar prep career at Central High School, where he was a first-team All-Valley selection as a senior, Williams considered playing at Fresno City College or Reedley College, until one day, when he received a phone call from Porterville College athletic director Eric Mendoza.

“I was just a kid at the time, but it was so much fun,” Williams said. “I still hold that time very close. It was a big difference from Fresno; Porterville was so close knit, so supportive, I miss and love the city. Mr. Mendoza talked to me and really made this experience possible. We were all just seeing these opportunities and I threw myself into it with his help.”

With the Fresno Pro-Am on its way, it's attracted a lot of athletic talent. Williams spoke about his current plans.

“We cast a wide net, we didn't just want to get locals but we wanted to support the whole of the valley here with people from Porterville, Fresno, and more. We have Coach Rob Haynes, who was not only a Porterville College men's basketball coach in 2013 and Hall of Famer back in 2003 under coach Scott Eitelgeorge; he's currently Fresno City's coach as well.”

When further asked about potential players Williams talked about the league having former NBA players like Greg Smith from the Houston Rockets and Desi Barmore from the Fresno State Bulldogs and Israeli Basketball Premier League just to name two.

“It's been an absolute blessing to work with so many wonderful athletes honestly,” Williams said. “It reminds me of what coach (T.J.) Jennings taught us. I've taken it through my life and it still hold it up. It's all about how we carry ourselves, our character and dedication to the game and the practice of it. I can't say it made much sense at the time, but it's come back and I've realized the importance of it all.”

The Fresno Pro-Am has a full schedule available at playpass.com/fresno-pro-am along with their Instagram at instagram.com/fresnoproam which has multiple videos from the league and interviews with Williams.

A few thanks I have to give out is first to God, then my wonderful wife for all her support at home and in life,” Williams said. “A big shout out to Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. The FMBCC provided us with so much administration help. Like all the stuff with steps on how to file our non-profits and get the league started. Special thank you to Rob Haynes and Desi Barmore. Thank you Fresno college for hosting the league and paving the way for continued success. Thanks to everyone it's been a blessing that's been well received.”

Additional questions about the Pro-Am or other inquiries can be sent through email to Fresnoproam@gmail.com.

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