From street court to Wolverine star


Junior transfer Isiah Williams is currently leading the Wolverines in points per game averaging 17.
Courtesy of UVU Athletics

Picture this: an old, run down, elementary school street court, the one you’d see in a movie or on a TV show about a great basketball star finding true love with the game.

Now, insert UVU junior guard Isiah Williams.

Williams grew up right across the street from a court like this, and just like the plot from this movie, he’s becoming a star.

Spending his whole life in the city of Chicago, Williams has always been able to light it up from anywhere on the court. Fans can see him drive the lane and score, roll off a screen and hit a jumper and even spot up from 25 feet to hit the deep trey.

In fact, Williams has the record from his high school for being the top scorer from 3-point distance.

He is currently the leading scorer for the Wolverines averaging 17 points a game on a team that currently has five guys with averages in double digits. Williams, a transfer from the College of Eastern Utah, knows just how dangerous a team with scoring potential like that can be.

“If my team needs a score I’m confident that I can be there to make it happen”
– Isiah Williams

“If my team needs a score I’m confident that I can be there to make it happen,” said Williams. “We have a lot of guys on our team this year that can really score, and if an [opposing] team is expecting me to come off a screen to hit a shot were deep enough that coach can draw it up and use me as a decoy so that Jordan [Swarbrick] or Holton [Hunsaker] will have the shot and I know they’ll hit it to.”

It sometimes can be hard for a Junior College transfer to make the transition to Division I and Williams saw this firsthand in the season opener against Maine, going 0-5 from the field ending the night with 0 points.

“Isiah is always getting better,” said Coach Dick Hunsaker. “He’s trying to settle in, trying to be a more all around player, and honestly he’s very coachable, has a terrific attitude and its been a lot of fun and very gratifying to watch him progress this year.”

Williams’ tough transition did not last for long.

Williams would come out the next game, as well as five of the next six, to lead the team in scoring. One of those performances was just that, a performance, where Williams went off against PAC 10 opponent Oregon State on the road, scoring 20 of his 22 points in the second half leading the Wolverines to victory.

“The second half at Oregon State, was as good of any half we’ve ever had at Utah Valley,” Hunsaker said of Williams’ performance.

At the time of the Wolverines last home game (Jan. 29), Williams has lead the team in scoring 12 of the teams 21 games and has found himself right at home in the starting lineup.

Speaking of home, Williams this season has lead and averaged just less than 20 points per game, in two games against Great West Conference foe Chicago State. Also in both games against Florida International University, which is coached by Chicago native and NBA hall-of-fame player Isiah Thomas, Williams would average 20 points and lead UVU to a tough 95-92 win at home earlier this season.

When asked to describe exactly what it is that makes Williams a better player than most he humbly replied: “I can’t say that I am, I try my hardest but still need to get better. I need to improve my defense and work on being more of a team leader.”

With Williams’s humble and yet remarkable play so far, if he continues to get better at this pace the world of college basketball better watch out.

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