When Munford senior Jayson Williams tried out for the Cougar basketball team as a 5-11 freshman, earning a basketball scholarship was the furthest thing from his mind. He didn’t even play in middle school.
Even as a junior he was only 6-4 and colleges aren’t really looking for post players that size.
But he shot up three more inches to 6-7, enjoyed a solid senior season and now it’s official: Williams will be a college basketball player.
He made is commitment to Rhodes College in Memphis on Monday.
“I didn’t think I could play college basketball until the end of last year and the summer going into this past season,” Williams said. “No college wants a 6-3, 6-4 big man. Then I grew a whole lot and 6-7 looks a lot better to colleges.”
The fact that Williams missed the majority of two seasons because of injury didn’t help matters either. But as he racked up blocked shots and rebounds last season for the Cougars he started getting recruited by several schools.
“I was still sending out tape and some schools reached out,” Wiliams said. “I was keeping my options open. Finally I was like, ‘Rhodes is the best school, Rhodes is local and Rhodes is probably going to be the best fit anyway.’ I called and said I wanted to be a Rhodes Lynx.”
Munford head coach Ryan Ross believes Williams has some serious talent that has now shown itself just yet.
“I think the biggest thing is that his best basketball is certainly ahead of him,” Ross said. “He has size and you can’t teach that. His best ability is protecting the rim and that’s sought after at the college level because it’s such a drive and space game. He erases a lot of mistakes you make defensively … Offensively, he has come a long way. I think he’ll continue to improve in that area when he gets to college.”
Williams’ maturity and smarts are also factors that let him to Rhodes, one of the best academic colleges in the South. His GPA is 3.9.
“He’s an incredibly smart kid, very driven and has big goals outside of basketball,” Ross said. “He holds himself to high standards academically and he’s one of those guys at school who everybody likes and people look up to. All of his teachers like him.”
He’s grounded, too.
“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.”