McDonough trans­fer Wil­liams signs with Howard for hoops

McDonough se­nior Wil­liams signs with Howard for bas­ket­ball

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Through his first three years with the North Point boys bas­ket­ball pro­gram, Tyler Wil- liams was apart of back-to-back South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence ti­tles, a Po­tomac Di­vi­sion ti­tle and a Charles County cham­pi­onship.

After his ju­nior sea­son as a key con­trib­u­tor in the start­ing lineup for the Ea­gles under head coach Jimmy Ball, Wil- liams made a huge off­sea­son move as he trans­ferred over to McDonough to play for long- time head coach Dave Rooney for the up­com­ing 2016-17 sea- son.

Howard Univer­sity and head men’s bas­ket­ball coach Kevin Nick­el­berry re­cently landed the 6-foot-8 swing­man, a poten- tially sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment for a pro­gram that’s try­ing to claw its way back into rel­e­vance.

Wil­liams inked his na­tional let­ter of in­tent at the NCAA Di- vi­sion I out­fit lo­cated in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., dur­ing the early sign­ing pe­riod on Novem­ber 11.

The Rams new­comer said that he and Nick­el­berry had de­vel­oped a re­la­tion­ship since Day 1 as the Howard pro­gram took no­tice dur­ing the sum­mer of Wil­liams’ sopho­more sea­son.

“This is huge for me. It is very ex­cit­ing to go Di­vi­sion I and show ev­ery­one what I can do,” said Wil­liams in a phone in­ter­view on Mon­day night. “Howard is close to home and I want to be able to make a dif­fer­ence in the pro­gram. Coach Nick­el­berry has been in my cor­ner and is like a fa­ther-fig­ure to me. He fol­lowed me through AAU and in high school and it was the per­fect fit for me.”

Wil­liams had one other of­fer in Di­vi­sion I’s Cop­pin State in Bal­ti­more, but made his de­ci­sion to go to a his­tor­i­cally black univer­sity which has a his­tori- cally known en­vi­ron­ment and com­petes in the Mid-East­ern Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

“Howard is an up-and-com­ing pro­gram and I like that coach Nick­le­berry is bring­ing in great tal­ent. My re­cruit­ing class has mag­nif­i­cent up­side and I feel as though we could be re­ally spe­cial,” Wil­liams said.

After av­er­ag­ing al­most five points and three re­bounds a game as a sopho­more, Wil­liams had a much more im­proved ju­nior cam­paign last sea­son as he was in­serted into the Ea­gles’ start­ing lineup. He av­er­aged 10.0 points, 6.4 re­bounds and 2.0 blocks a game.

“Tyler has great up­size. He has a lot of po­ten­tial and a good skill set,” Rooney said. “He can shoot the ball out­side and can fin­ish at the rim. With his size and length he’s go­ing to have to imag­ine that he’s play­ing against big­ger guys, which will help him at the col­lege level. The coaches that he’s had in the past has re­ally helped with his de­vel­op­ment.”

Wil­liams, who also spent his sum­mers in the off­sea­son play­ing for D.C. Premier, for the Dis­trict Bas­ket­ball Club and the Bal­ti­more United, has cred­ited not only his coaches along the way, but his fa­ther Thom- as Wil­liams for help­ing him be­come a stu­dent of the game and adding dif­fer­ent parts to his over­all game.

“My fa­ther has been ex­tremely in­stru­men­tal in my life. He pushes me to my break­ing point, which in the long run is re­ally needed,” said the young- er Wil­liams, who started play- ing bas­ket­ball at the age of 4. “He works me out and he has re­ally taught me 70 per­cent of the stuff I know about bas­ket- ball.”

When asked what he wants to the bring to the Bi­son pro­gram, Wil­liams said. “I want to bring my ver­sa­til­ity and win­ning at­ti­tude to Howard. I want to be able to come in and help build a legacy for the pro­gram.”

Wil­liams’ sign­ing was a sig­nif- icant mo­ment in Nick­le­berry’s ef­fort to build the Bi­son into a mid-ma­jor power.

When Nick­le­berry left Hamp­ton and took over Howard in 2010, the Bi­son were ranked 351st out of 352 Di­vi­sion I teams. Last sea­son, Howard fin­ished 12-20 on the sea­son, but with an ex­cit­ing in­com­ing fresh­men class and some re­turn­ing play­ers, the Bi­son look to make some noise in the MEAC. Howard cur­rently is 0-4 on the sea­son thus far.

“Work­ing hard and hav­ing good char­ac­ter on and off the court means suc­cess,” Wil­liams said. “Col­lege is go­ing to be a test, but I’ve been work­ing out with a lot of peo­ple that can give me knowl­edge for the next level. I’ve been work­ing on my jump­shot and con­di­tion­ing mostly.”

Now that the re­cruit­ing process is over, Wil­liams can now fo­cus on fin­ish­ing his high school ca­reer with the Rams.

“We want to con­tinue to build his foun­da­tion,” Rooney said. “He has some friends and very good team­mates here at McDonough who are get­ting adapted to him and hope­fully we can par­lay that into some suc­cess.”

PHOTO BY DAR­NELL MARBURY

For­mer North Point for­ward Tyler Wil­liams, who trans­ferred to McDonough in the off­sea­son, is pic­tured drib­bling up the court in last sea­son’s 56-51 vic­tory over the Hunt­ing­town Hur­ri­canes in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game. Wil­liams signed his na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play Di­vi­sion I bas­ket­ball at Howard Univer­sity on Nov. 11.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

McDonough High School se­nior Tyler Wil­liams, a re­cent North Point trans­fer, signed his na­tional let­ter in­tent to play bas­ket­ball at NCAA Di­vi­sion I Howard Univer­sity on Nov. 11 in the school’s gym­na­sium. Seated, from left, are Wil­liams’ fa­ther Thomas Wil­liams, Tyler Wil­liams, Wil­liams’ mother Misha McAl­lis­ter and younger sis­ter Madi­son Wil­liams.

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