JUCO Transfer Billydee Williams Offers Toughness, Perimeter Shooting for WVU in 2014-15
Matt Hauswirth, MORGANTOWN -
Bob Huggins originally thought his 2014 recruiting class was all set.
However following the abrupt departures of Eron Harris, Terry Henderson and Remi Debo, a trio of the Mountaineers’ top five scorers from one season ago, the eventual Hall-of-Fame head coach was forced to dip back into the talent pool across the country.
That’s when Billydee Williams arrived on the radar.
“He’s an explosive player, capable of knocking down any shot from the floor,” SouthPlainsCommunity College (Texas) Men’s Basketball Head Coach Steve Green said during a recent phone interview with West Virginia Illustrated. “He’s a good-looking player – I mean he’s 6’5 and cut up. He can do a lot on the floor.”
The Mountaineers could use a player like that – the kind that can do a lot on the floor. Williams averaged 10.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the South Plains College Texans last year. Those may seem like mediocre numbers to the average Mountaineer fan, but if you read deeper into his statistics, you will find a number that is anything but average.
39.8 percent. That was Williams’ average from the perimeter – nearly 40 percent from three. Without three experienced shooters such as Harris, Henderson and Debo, Williams’ consistent shooting will be welcomed immediately within the WVU program.
Huggins released a brief statement on Monday, announcing the signing of the junior college transfer.
“We are excited to get a player of this caliber this late in the recruiting process,” Huggins said. “Billydee is another guy who increases our size and athleticism on the perimeter as well as being able to stretch people out with his 3-point shooting. He also will be a valuable resource as we try to rebound the basketball more efficiently.”
Williams will arrive in Morgantown this summer as a well-traveled young man. Growing up in Orlando, Florida, he starred for Winter ParkHigh School during his junior season, alongside former Duke Blue Devil and current NBA player, Austin Rivers. He then transferred to BrandonFaithBaptistChristianSchool during his senior year.
Williams chose the junior college route upon high school graduation. He spent his freshman season at IowaWesternCommunity College, averaging 13.9 points per game along with shooting 43.0 percent from beyond the arc.
But things took another turn after his freshman season. Williams wound up at SouthPlainsCommunity College in Levelland, Texas. It was an addition that Head Coach Steve Green was more than happy to make. In his own words, Green knew that Williams would eventually move on to the top collegiate level.
“Oh yeah, I knew he could eventually play at the Division-I level,” Green said emphatically. “I’m not sure what happened at his previous school [Iowa Western], but we were happy to take him.”
Now Coach Huggins shares that same sentiment. Nonetheless, Green shared a phone conversation between Huggins and himself, which ultimately led to his vote of confidence for Morgantown to become Williams’ next landing spot.
“Coach Huggins called me and told me he had a standout point guard [Juwan Staten] coming back, and I think that’s something that Billydee needs to play with,” Green added. “I think if he can get the chance to play with an all-conference point guard, then he’s going to be a great asset for West Virginia.”
Junior College transfers have become more prevalent across college basketball during recent years. For the Mountaineers, Williams is the third junior college signee of the 2014 class, joining Tarik Phillip (Independence C.C. – Independence, Kansas) and Jaysean Paige (Moberly Area C.C. – Moberly, Missouri).
For Williams, it was anything but an ordinary path, but it ultimately led him to the MountainState. It’s a monumental opportunity for him to prove he belongs at the highest level of college basketball, and the final piece to what Mountaineer fans hope can propel the program back to the NCAA Tournament.