My name is William Joseph DeYonker, I'm 24 years old, born on February 6th, 1992, and I go by the nickname “The Gentleman" in the trick shot industry. I started playing pool when I was about 4 years old, but mostly throwing balls around on the table back then. In 2002, ESPN aired Trick Shot Magic featuring two legendary artists, Mike Massey "Tennessee Tarzan" and Tom Rossman "Dr. Cue". Watching their magic on TV, I became very enthusiastic about the nature of the sport, but I couldn't get the techniques down from the same shots I've seen on TV, so my interest faded until it spiked back up years later. In 2006, at the age of 14, I saw ESPN Trick Shot Magic again, and it encouraged me to go on the Internet and look for more trick shots to watch and practice them on my 8ft Olhausan table. It was then that Ppooler "Pavel Paledno" (from Czech Slovakia) caught my attention and became another inspiration in the creative process of trick shots. The second I started watching one of his five minute YouTube videos, filled with endless amount of skill & creativity, I became more enthusiastic about the sport and encouraged by Pavel and other talented ESPN players. Ever since then, I kept on practicing the same shots on TV and YouTube for many years and hadn’t look back since.
Years later, in 2013, I entered in the Artistic Cup 7 competition in Lake City, Florida held by Tom Rossman. I came in 5th place out of 14 competitors from around United States and won the follow discipline medal for the most points scored in that discipline. Then in 2014, I was invited to compete in the WPA World Artistic Pool Championship at the Rio in Las Vegas, and wouldn't you know it, I became the next upstart in trick shots! I was placed 6th out of 26 players, became ranked 20th in the world and got the highest score as a first time player in a trick shot tournament! A huge accomplishment, but more to come if I were to accomplish well in freestyle tournaments like Trick Shot Magic and coming close to beating a trick shot champion. And wouldn’t you know it, that dream become a reality for me.
At the 2015 UTS freestyle tournament, located at The Big Kahuna in Huntington, NY, I became the Runner Up of the UTS tournament, became the 2015 Masters Champion the following year (tying the highest score in a trick shot tournament), and a year later in July, I won the very first ESPN Qualifiers tournament to be qualified for ESPN Trick Shot Magic!
I have come so far in just a short period time, but I do know that my ultimate goal on becoming one of the top trick shot artists' in the world is not very far for me as we speak. More importantly, I’ve accomplished all of this while on the autism spectrum due to my diagnosis at the age of 4. I never would've thought that I would come this far as a “fan favorite” while under the impression of having some issues with social interaction and others symptoms under the spectrum. I’ve inspired thousands of people and pool enthusiasts already, and I hope I will inspire even more people to see what breakthrough's I’ve accomplished being autistic and competing in pool trick shot tournaments at the same time. Story of my life. :)
William “The Gentleman” DeYonker