June 13, 1984 |
Long Beach, California
|Listed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Listed weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|High school||Narbonne (Harbor City, California)|
|WNBA draft||2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5th overall|
|Selected by the Los Angeles Sparks|
|2006–2007||Los Angeles Sparks|
|2007–2008||New York Liberty|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Lisa Camille Willis (born June 13, 1984) was an American professional women's basketball player with the Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty of the Women's National Basketball Association. She entered the WNBA in 2006 as the overall fifth draft pick to the Los Angeles Sparks immediately following her college career at University of California, Los Angeles. While Willis played for the Los Angeles Sparks for her first two seasons, she was playing for the New York Liberty her last two seasons where she led the WNBA in three pointers in 2008.
Willis enjoyed a successful college career at UCLA where she had an amazing presence offensively and defensively. In 2006 as a senior, Willis was named prior to the season by Nancy Lieberman of ESPN as the nation’s best defender, named Honorable mention AP All American, selected Third Team All American selection by Women’s Basketball News Service, named as a Pre Season Naismith Award Nominee, nominated for the Bayer Advantage Senior Class Award, was UCLA's All time 3point shot leader (second on All Time PAC10 list), ranked ninth on the All Time UCLA Scoring List, ranked fifth at UCLA in all time games played, ranked 13th on all time school rebounding list, ranked 10th in all time school scoring list, ranked 8th in all time school free throw percentage, ranked second in all time school steal list and listed as the first player in history to record three straight seasons with 100 or more steals.
In 2005 as a junior, Willis was deemed as UCLA’s all time 3point shot leader, was selected first team All PAC10, was ranked sixth in nation in steals, became first Bruin to record back to back 100 steals seasons, tied her own school record for made 3point shots, recorded 26 double figure scoring games and tallied nine double figure rebounding games. She was also selected to the 2005 USA Team and won a gold medal in Izmir, Turkey.
In 2004 as a sophomore, Willis tallied a total of 100 steals (which was the most ever by a UCLA sophomore), was ranked third in NCAA in steals per game, was ranked ninth for sophomores scoring at UCLA, ranked first in PAC10 in steals, ranked first in PAC10 in 3point shots made, ranked seventh in PAC10 in defensive rebounding, 15th in overall rebounding, and ranked tenth in PAC10 in scoring.
In 2003 as a freshman, Willis Finished the regular season seventh in PAC10 3pointers made and ranked second on UCLA’s all-time single season frosh list for 3pointer.
Lisa Willis grew up in Long Beach, CA and attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City, CA. As a four-year Varsity basketball player, Willis saw a great deal of success at Narbonne. Noted accomplishments for Willis are as follows: Won two straight City Championship, named second team All State selection by Cal Hi Sports as an underclassman, named as the Los Angeles City Player of the Year, named First Team Marine League, named First Team All City, named Second Team All Area by Daily Breeze, won Back to back City, State, and US National Championships with New York Liberty's Loree Moore and one with Indian Fever's Ebony Hoffman, name a Nike All American, named Honorable mention All American US Today and Street & Smith’s and was also recognized as the Sophomore State Player of the Year. She committed herself to UCLA as sophomore. Her Nickname is Raindropper as it was given to her in High School by Ebony Hoffman.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Willis was a member of the team representing the USA at the 2005 World University Games Team in Izmir, Turkey. Willis averaged 9.7 points per game while helping the team to a 7–0 record, resulting in a gold medal at the event. Willis' efficiency showed in Turkey when it was noted that she was a leading scorer and the top 3 point shooter but didn't tallied as many minutes. Representing the USA through basketball was a proud moment for Willis!
Willis had a fun and exciting professional basketball career in Europe during the WNBA offseason. She played for teams in Vologda, Russia, Byron, Greece, Kayseri, Turkey and Riga, Latvia. Her last season of overseas basketball was played in Riga, Latvia where she won the Latvian Championship in 2010. Willis' career came to an end when she tore her ACL, MCL, and LCL the same day she received a contract to go back to Kayseri, Turkey where she once played.
Life after basketball
Life after basketball brought out a community-driven mindset in Lisa. She took over The Promise Group (her mother's non profit organization), expanded their service spectrum and served as a role model for foster children and at risk youth. Willis became a board member of Best Start Los Angeles, a government-funded nonprofit serving infants and children up to five years old. She joined West Athens Task Force, whose primary goal was taking action on community concerns and implementing community revitalization strategies. During one of the meetings, the lead Sheriff said “Lisa came in and hit the floor running!” This speaks to her willingness and eagerness to be an agent of change. Willis has participated on panels across the country, interacting with highly regarded scholars, elected officials and community leaders. Working together, they shared resolution-geared insight on what the foster care system can do to make “emancipation” for affected youth more of “liberation”. Even with all her charitable endeavors, basketball never strayed far from Willis’s reach. Under the WILLIS HOOPS umbrella, she created innovative workshops focused on the physical and mental development of basketball skills. She recognized participants have different skill levels, passions, aspirations and socio-economic levels. The programs’ design provide elite basketball training for ALL types of players. Starting with Work Hard, Play Hard, she conducts basketball clinics for inner city youths. Think.Work.Play! is a basketball camp for high school student-athletes. The camp deals with the psychology behind basketball to maximize total performance. Academy 6 is a basketball academy that breaks down the complete game of basketball into six major sectors. While all the sectors are the same, each academy is geared towards taking a player to the next level. Lastly, G.O. Sessions are for extremely dedicated high school and college athletes. The “Grind Out” Session simulates a basketball boot camp where high-level competition, dedication and intensity are required. Today Willis is the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Montreat College in North Carolina. Coaching is where she is able to apply her life’s work and instill her values in the players she coaches. College is a pivotal time in a young woman’s life and Willis is committed to mentoring, developing and encouraging the players in Montreat’s growing basketball program. Coaching at the collegiate level allows her to combine all the lessons, journeys and knowledge she has bundled up over the years. She’s built an amazing legacy for her players to draw strength and reap the benefits of her experience. Lisa’s desire is to build a program her teams will remember long after their playing days are over. When they reflect on their time together, and not just the wins and losses, hopefully they will be proud of how the experience shaped their lives. In the future, look for Willis in a city, state or country near you! With aspirations to utilize basketball as a platform to mentor youths around the world, she plans to apply her life lessons and help pave the way for others to follow. As a player and coach, Willis got the job done on the court. With a heart for helping others, she’ll also get the job done as a role-model and emerging leader.
Willis is currently living in Laurel, MD where she has decided to put collegiate coach aside and revamp her player development business. Under the name of Think. Work. Play! Willis' mission is to not only build strong basketball players, but also build great people.