01/15/08 — Williams signs with Trojans

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Williams signs with Trojans

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 15, 2008 1:48 PM

From the time he was seven years old Eric Williams has been spending his summer's honing his skills at Mount Olive College's basketball camps.

Now a senior at Wayne Christian, Williams will have the opportunity to continue to develop his game at Mount Olive after signing a national letter of intent with the Trojans.

"I really love Mount Olive College and the coaches," Williams said. "I'm really excited about playing for a nationally-ranked program. It will be really great to be a part of bringing a Division II national championship to the little town of Mount Olive."

With just three seniors listed on its current roster, the Mount Olive coaching staff plans to redshirt the 6-foot-8, 175-pound Williams. They want him to add bulk to his lanky frame and adjust to college basketball.

"It's going to be tough sitting on the bench for a year," Williams said. "In the end it'll probably work out. It will help me with school because I can take it easy that first year."

During his time at Wayne Christian, Williams' play has been every bit has big as his frame. He's amassed over 1,600 points and over 1,000 rebounds, and is currently averaging close to 24 points and 16 rebounds a game this season.

Wayne Christian does not have accurate records from its program's early years, but Williams is almost certainly the first player in school history to have over 1,000 points and rebounds.

The size and skill Williams has used to put up those types of numbers is what makes him capable of succeeding at the next level.

"We are extremely excited to sign Eric," Mount Olive associate head coach Joey Higginbotham said. "He is a very versatile player who can play multiple positions. He's an excellent passer and can shoot from the outside."

Williams was named the Eagles' Most Valuable Player a year ago and received Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference co-Player of the Year honors in the 2005-06 season. His efforts on the soccer field have gained him all-state notoriety as well.

"Eric's always been athletic," Wayne Christian head coach Tim Brannan said. "There's a difference between being 6-foot-8, and being 6-foot-8 and athletic. You see a lot of kids that are 6-foot-8, but how many of them can dribble between their legs and play goalie on their soccer team? Every sport I've ever seen him try, he's good at."

Statistically, Williams has left his fingerprints all over Wayne Christian's program but his presence hasn't stopped there. A leader on and off the court, Williams is a player Brannan plans to use as a teaching tool for years to come.

"First off, Eric's just a good kid," Williams said. "He's fun to be around and he picks up the other kids around (him). It's been a pleasure to watch him mature. When we get a kid going to a local college with a great tradition like Mount Olive we can say, 'look it can be done.'

"It gives the guys goals."