Back on March 30, Munford High senior basketball player Jayson Williams made his commitment to play basketball at Rhodes College publicly known.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, however, a traditional signing ceremony where coaches, friends and family gather to celebrate the moment was impossible.
Williams finally got his moment three and a half months later this morning in front of Sid Witherington Stadium.
“It was important because corona kind of ruined my senior year,” said Williams. “I didn’t have a normal graduation, prom was going to be kind of weird, so it was important that I was able to do this. I still wanted my moment. Everybody else who signed got their moment so I just wanted to make sure I got mine.”
Ryan Ross, who coached Munford for five seasons before taking a job at South-Doyle High School in Knoxville earlier this month, made sure he was in town today to honor his former player.
“When you put in all that work, you deserve to have your moment and be recognized for that,” Ross said. “I’m so happy that we’ve been able to find a way to make that happen. Every player deserves their moment.”
Williams is a 6-7 center who grew almost a foot during his high school career and developed into a difference-making defender and shot blocker. He was recruited by several schools before picking Rhodes. Williams, who had a 3.9 GPA at Munford, said academics was a big reason why chose Rhodes.
“I’m a realistic person,” Williams said. “The odds of me going to the NBA or going pro are not that high. If I get to do what I love and play college basketball for the next four years, I want to do that for a good school.”
“He’s going to go on and have a great basketball career, but he’s going to do so much more than basketball,” Ross said. “Rhodes is a great place to start that journey.”
About a dozen members of Williams’ family were on hand today and every one of them were wearing Rhodes T-shirts.
Williams made sure to thank Munford English teacher Jen Tyler for organizing the event.
“I’m glad Miss Tyler did this. No one had to do this for me. Miss Tyler told me whenever we got out of school I would have my day and she came through and set everything up.”