Christmas closes collegiate career with All-West region honors

The 2019-20 basketball season marked the culmination of a phenomenal career at Cal Poly Pomona for senior guard William Christmas. Despite the season ending early due to the coronavirus outbreak, Christmas led the Broncos in scoring all year as the senior averaged 16.5 points per game.

As a result of the phenomenal season, the senior earned All-West Region accolades. Christmas was selected to both the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2 CCA) All-West Region Team.

“I’m a pretty laid-back person on and off the court,” Christmas said. “I have a lot of passion and I’m big on making sure that when I go out there on the court I’m the best version of myself and I have a really big thing about not being as good as I think I can be, so I put a lot of pressure on myself.”

“Overall I’m a fiery, competitive, still laid back but passionate about the game type of guy,” Christmas said.

Senior guard William Christmas ended his career as a Bronco with 658 rebounds and 312 assists. (Courtesy of CPP Athletic Department)

For Christmas, CPP offered not only a great opportunity to obtain an education but the guard viewed the school as a place where he would be able to grow as a basketball player.

“The coaches (during my recruiting process) seemed like they were committed to me,” Christmas said. “They actively recruited me and made it known that they wanted me to be here and that I would be a big part of what we did down the line. And really you just want to go where you know people are going to trust you and believe in what you can do.”

Early in his collegiate career, during the 2016-17 season, Christmas showed a glimpse of his potential as he averaged 8.3 points per game and was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) freshman of the year. He would also make major contributions that year with 48 total assists and 24 steals.

Christmas also collected other collegiate awards and honors such as 2016-17 All-CCAA Honorable Mention, 2017-18 NABC All-District Second Team, 2017-18 All-CCAA First Team, 2018-19 NABC All-District Second Team, 2018-19 All-CCAA First Team, 2018-19 D2 CCA All-West Region Second Team and 2019-20 All-CCAA First Team.

The Broncos’ coaching staff, which was a big reason for Christmas picking Cal Poly Pomona, has helped him become the player he is today.

“He’s a lot more confident today than when he first came in, he’s a lot stronger, faster and more athletic to be honest; he’s the hardest working guy in the program,” head coach Greg Kamansky said. “In the off-season, he lives in the weight room and works in the gym. It’s really, really important for him to be good, and I wouldn’t say he’s a self-made guy, but a lot of the guys that I’ve had in the past that are our best players, have been our hardest workers, and that’s Will Christmas, no doubt about it.”

Despite being the leading scorer, Christmas’ impact on his teammates has been significant. The guard has transformed over his four-year career at CPP into one of the leaders of the team. His teammate, senior forward Riley Schaefer, has been in the passenger seat to watch Christmas become one of the best players in the conference.

“He has a huge impact on this team,” Schaefer said. “He’s kind of our driving force. Obviously, we get contributions from everyone and there’s games where he might not be as well, and that’s when someone else will pick up, but he starts it all whether it’s on the defensive side or offensive side of the ball.”

After a great season and four years with the Broncos, Christmas plans to finish his schooling and obtain his degree in Kinesiology and is also hopeful he can take the next step and play professional basketball.

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