- "So me and my, uh, my boy Tray was playin' basketball in Philly. And, um, placed a bet with this-- this d-boy. And, uh, sh*t went left when we won. Cops showed up. I ended up out here. Tray ended up shot. I feel like it's my fault. And, um... I haven't touched a ball since."
- —Will to Jazz[src]
Will grew up in West Philadelphia with his mother, who raised him by herself after Will's dad walked out on them when Will was four years old. Along with playing basketball, Will also learned how to play the piano. He used to take lessons from an old woman at church, but he didn't have a piano of his own, so his mom used to draw the piano keys on cardboard, and he'd practice that way.
Moving to Bel-Air
After a big win during a school basketball game and a run-in with Darnell outside of Cesario's Supermarket, Will and Tray challenge him to a game of 11. Should they win, Rashad agrees to give them $2,000 to split, though if they lose, then they have to work the block as dope boys. Fortunately, it doesn't come to that, and Will and Tray pick up the victory. Unfortunately, a brawl breaks out after Rashad is hit with a basketball and Will fires a gun in the air. For this, they are both arrested, though Will is freed the following day and sent to live in Bel-Air with his Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv for his own safety.
Will gets a ride from Jazz to his family's mansion, where he reunites with his aunt and uncle, as well as his cousins, Hilary, Carlton, and Ashley. He also makes the acquaintance of Lisa Wilkes. However, this doesn't stop Will from trying to fly back home to West Philly to fix his situation. After some convincing from Uncle Phil, Will agrees to at least give Bel-Air a chance, but he finds that hard to do, as he doesn't fit in with Carlton and his friends. The only bright side to any of this is Lisa, who asks Will to celebrate with her at Connor's beach party, where they dance until Carlton pushes Will in the pool out of jealousy and Will punches both him and Connor in retaliation.
Set up by Connor
Shortly after returning home from the party and being scolded by Aunt Viv, Will learns that Tray got shot. Fortunately, it is just a shoulder wound and he will survive. The next day, he drives his Aunt Viv's Lexus to school, where he is confronted by the campus security and ridiculed by Carlton during the school assembly after running away from security. In hopes that she could help correct the narrative, Will seeks out Lisa to ask for her help, as Carlton has been spreading lies about him around the school, but it would seem his hold on Bel-Air Academy is too great. To make matters worse, Connor has filed a restraining order against Will and Carlton challenges him to a fair fight, which Will walks away from.
After struggling during a practice game with Jazz, Will returns home, where he and Uncle Phil have a heart-to-heart while shooting some hoops, during which Will explains how his arrest plays over and over in his head like a looped movie, which Uncle Phil helps him get pass, allowing Will to get his head in the game and impress Coach Johnson during try-outs, earning Will a spot on the team. However, after exchanging words with Carlton, Will discovers that he's been set up, after campus security finds drugs in his bag.
Will receives in-school suspension for the drugs found in his bag, which Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil quickly get word of, though Will insists they aren't his and that he's being framed. And so, his aunt and uncle head down to the school to get to the bottom of things, which leads to Will getting unsuspended, just in time for lunch with Lisa, during which he flips his blazer inside out to hide the unsightly mustard stain. Will's pending suspension is then resolved indefinitely after a witness allegedly came forward to reveal that they saw someone that doesn't go to Bel-Air Academy messing with his bag, confirming to Will that Connor and/or Carlton had something to do with his suspension.
After attending the crawfish boil with Carlton and Uncle Phil, during which Will gets on stage and encourages his uncle to show him some steps, thus winning over Uncle Phil's fraternity brothers, Will has his first game. He doesn't start, but when he does get on the court, he leads his team to victory; he scores multiples points and maintains his composure even after being fouled, though the highlight on the night is him making the game winning shot, for which he's celebrated, both by his family and team.
After getting word from Tray that Rashad knows that he's hiding out in Bel-Air, Will informs Geoffrey, who promises to handle it. Will then makes a deal with Aunt Viv: if he and Carlton get through the campaign with no beef, then she has to fly Tray out by the end of the week. However, canvassing for votes with Carlton proves a bit more difficult than Will intended, as Carlton fails to connect with the people and Will uses underhanded tactics to get votes for Uncle Phil, which Carlton doesn't approve of. However, after talking it over with Jazz, Will and Carlton come to agreement. Not only do they get the signatures, Will also invites everyone he can to the skating rink for Uncle Phil's private fundraiser.
While in the bathroom at the skating rink, Will runs into Lisa's father, who he discovers is the Chief of Police. Will confronts Lisa over this recent discovery, though she insists that she wasn't hiding it from him. She asks about his dad, but Will hasn't seen him since he walked out on him and his mom. Later that night, after getting word from Aunt Viv that she intends to honor their agreement, Will calls Tray, who reveals that Rashad was shot and killed.
Flying out Tray
Will picks Tray up from LAX and brings him home, where they catch up and discuss Will possibly moving back to Philly given that Rashad's dead. This weighs heavily on Will, who seeks out advice from Hilary, as Philly is his home and there are people expecting his return. Hilary thinks Will should stay, but advises him to do what's best for him. However, that night, after dinner, he is given more to consider when Carlton reveals that he knows the real reason he's in Bel-Air and threatens to expose him if Will doesn't stay out of his way and leave Lisa alone. Taking Hilary's advice, Will reveals to Tray that he's considering staying in Bel-Air, which Tray doesn't take well and ultimately leads to him leaving early and returning to Philly after they get into a fight. With Tray gone, Will calls his mom and tells her about his plans to stay with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air.
Pursuing a relationship with Lisa
Will lashes out after learning that he's being roasted online by Tray and all his friends back home in Philly. After accidentally breaking Aunt Viv's vase, he speaks to Uncle Phil, who tells him that he's not alone and asks for his help with the fundraiser for Lisa's mom. However, he finds himself at odds with Lisa after noticing a moment between her and Carlton, which she reveals was just him comforting her about her mother. After a revealing exchange with Lisa's stepmother, Angela, Will finds Lisa to apologize and comfort her, as she's having trouble getting through the day, especially since her stepmother keeps trying to make it all about her. Will can relate, as he knows what it feels like to be reminded of a missing parent. His dad left when he was four, but he advises Lisa to hang on to the good memories of her mother.
Will finds Carlton in his room snorting Xanax, and in the middle of a breakdown after he overheard him and Lisa's conversation about her tiptoeing around his emotions. Carlton begins to cry and exclaim that he can't join Lisa on stage in his current condition. Will comforts him and assures him that he'll handle it, and he does so by joining Lisa on stage to read the poem she wrote in tribute to her mother. After a conversation with Aunt Viv about misplaced anger and his fraying friendship with Tray, Will joins Lisa by the poolside, where she thanks him for stepping in for Carlton and they share a kiss.
Despite a recent conversation with Uncle Phil, urging Will to distance himself from Lisa, Will continues to pursue a relationship with her, to the point where they decide it's time to tell Carlton the truth. But first, Will makes it his job to help Carlton after learning that he's become an outcast within his own crew. He throws a party at the house, which Lisa also attends. After failing to help Carlton, Will heads up to his room with Lisa, where they share private information with each other, though Will does maintain his lie that he was sent to Bel-Air for a better education. Lisa admires Will's courage and kisses him. This leads to sex and Will expressing his desire to be with Lisa. But their first time together ends abruptly when the police arrive to shut down the party, forcing Will and Lisa to out themselves to Carlton.
17th Birthday party
Will has his mother flown out the day before his 17th birthday so that they can all celebrate as a family. He hopes the issues between his mom and aunt can be tempered, at least until his birthday is over, but the tension between the two continue to build, which Will relates to them being too much alike. The following day, he takes his mother on a tour of Bel-Air and tells her how grateful he is to have her, as well as Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv. After lunch with Aunt Viv, he asks his mom about his father, who, according to her, was a half-assed dreamer, jumping from one get-rich-quick scheme to another. He left after Will was born and realized that he could no longer control Vy. That night, after getting word that Uncle Phil is running late, Will decides to start opening gifts. He receives a framed picture from his mother of the two of them from years ago, and Aunt Viv gifts him a pair of limited edition Jordans, which leads to a fight between his mom and aunt. After talking to his mom and encouraging her to forgive Aunt Viv, Will and Carlton hash out their differences before Will asks Geoffrey to look into his father.
Coming clean to Lisa
After witnessing Carlton run off stage during church and a bit of encouragement from Hilary, Will decides to check in on his cousin's well-being, given his anxiety disorder. Will promises Carlton that he will always be there for him and that his troubles won't be so heavy if he allows Will to carry them with him. Later that evening, Geoffrey hands Will all the information he's managed to gather on Will's father. Ultimately, Will decides not to pursue this any further and gives the envelope to Uncle Phil, who has been more like a father to him than any man.
Will is confronted by Lisa, who has learned the truth, or at least some of it, regarding his sudden arrival in Bel-Air. Lisa questions why would he lie when she's only ever been honest with him. Will admits that he had the gun, but that he shot it in the air to break up a fight. Though, none of that matters now, as her dad also knows and plans to use it at the debate against Uncle Phil. And so, Will and Carlton rush to the debate to give Uncle Phil a heads-up, where he reveals that he does not regret his decision to save Will and then proceeds with withdraw from the race.
Meeting his father
Will attends Aunt Viv's gala, where he receives some words of encouragement from Uncle Phil and Jazz before attempting to win Lisa back. He professes his love for her, but she neither says it back nor shuts him down, only saying that they can talk about it tomorrow and arranges to meet her at the coffee shop, but he never makes it, because he learns from Carlton and Geoffrey's report that his dad came by the house and that he didn't leave Will, rather he was incarcerated for ten years, leading Will to confront his aunt and uncle, who have been lying to him this entire time. Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv explain that his father is dangerous and that they were simply looking out for Will, who, after calling his mother and confronting her with the truth, decides to meet with his dad.
Will sits down with his father for the first time in 13 years. It starts off a bit rough, with Will asking why he never reached out. However, they eventually work to a less confrontational point, where Will reminisces about going to a Sixer's game with his dad as a kid. This, however, leads to Will's mom, who Lou still has resentment for and refers to as ungrateful, which sets Will off, leading to a confrontation that Uncle Phil is forced to break up. Will tells his father to leave and that he never wants to see him again, before heading upstairs to pack his clothes and leaving the house. His aunt, uncle, and cousins attempt to convince him to stay, but Will feels as though he can no longer trust them. And later that night, he meets up with Jazz. While overlooking the city, Jazz advises Will to seize the opportunities before him.
- "Dreams and Nightmares"
- "Keep Ya Head Up"
- "PA to LA"
- "The Strength to Smile"
- "Payback's A B*tch"
- "No One Wins When the Family Feuds"
- "Can't Knock the Hustle"
- "Where To?"
- Will is an honor roll student.
- Much like Will, his actor, Jabari Banks, is also a West Philadelphia native.
- Season 1, Episode 6: The Strength to Smile
- Season 1, Episode 4: Canvass
- Season 1, Episode 1: Dreams and Nightmares
- Season 1, Episode 2: Keep Ya Head Up
- Season 1, Episode 3: Yamacraw
- Season 1, Episode 5: PA to LA
- Season 1, Episode 7: Payback's A B*tch
- Season 1, Episode 8: No One Wins When the Family Feuds
- Season 1, Episode 9: Can't Knock the Hustle
- Season 1, Episode 10: Where To?