“They are a young team, so I really feel like I will fit in,” the 6-foot-3 senior said. “They only have two graduating seniors. They had a good year this year and went a little bit above.500. They lost to the No. 1 team in the nation by (three) points, so they definitely have potential. I think we can be a really good team next year”
Williams is the all-time leading point scorer at Perkins with 1,588 career points. He averaged 22.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in his final season with the Pirates.
“I remember talking to him in post-season interviews as a freshman and telling him he’s showed more improvement than anybody. I think he made a huge jump that year,” Perkins coach Scott McVeigh recalled. “Even as a junior high player we knew he was good. He was always kind of a laid back kid though, and didn’t really go out and be the aggressor. Probably the last five games of his freshman year he really stepped it up and we thought took it to a new level”
Williams is a three-time all Ohio selection and has owned the Outstanding Performer award in the Sandusky Bay Conference since he was a sophomore.
“I don’t think any of us envisioned that he’d be all-time career leader in points and do everything that he has done to help our program the way that he has,” McVeigh said. “A lot of it boils down to him and what he did when nobody was looking. I don’t think any of us envisioned that, but he had the work ethic to be able to do it”
McVeigh said he’s optimistic about both Williams’ athletic and academic career. Williams is planning to major in pre-dental.
“Number one, academically it is a good school” McVeigh said. “I think he’ll be able to go in a play right away which is huge, I think, for any kid going into college athletically. I think he is going to be an impact player right away and have a chance to get big minutes. Not a lot of kids can handle going to college after being “the guy” and then sit and watch. I think it is a good opportunity. Anytime you get your college paid for is a good thing”
The Cardinals went 15-13 last year under head coach Danny Sancomb, who will be in his seventh year at the helm when Williams arrives on campus in August.
“I was looking at Northern Kentucky, Ashland and Tiffin, but I think the coaches as Wheeling perused me the most and showed the most interest in me. The way I fit in with the team seemed right. I really liked the campus. The coaches really impressed me. They believe we can win a national championship” Wheeling Jesuit competes in the Mountain East Conference, a 12-team league with schools in Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. Also in that conference is West Liberty, the 2014 runner-up national championship team and current home of Williams’ former teammate Brandon Smith (Perkins 2013).
“I just talked to him today. He was bummed he couldn’t make it, but he’s down there right now,” Williams said of Smith. “They are our rivals and are only like 20 minutes away from us. It’ll be sweet playing against him though”
Facing an old teammate is a rare happening in college basketball, but one McVeigh is looking forward to.
“It’s rewarding because they love the game,” McVeigh said of Williams and Smith. “It’s nice to coach that. You have to love it to go to college and do it day in and day out. Those two are going to be playing in the same league next year, which is weird. You don’t see that happen a lot. It’ll be interesting next year to see those two go against each other. It’ll be fun to watch”