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WVU signs wing man Williams

By Mitch Vingle, Sports Editor

Last Wednesday the Gazette reported WVU was recruiting South Plains [Texas] College basketball wing man Billydee Williams.

Afterward, there were reports Williams committed to Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins. In fact, though, he’s signed a letter-of-intent to play for the school.

“West Virginia started recruiting me a couple weeks ago,” Williams told the Gazette on Monday. “They talked to my AAU coach. Then I talked to [WVU assistant] Coach [Larry] Harrison first.”

The result is a completed 2014 roster for Huggins, who is now recovering from hip replacement surgery.

“They said they’d lost a couple players and needed rebounding and defensive help,” Williams said. “Coach Huggins said he wanted to get back to his old style of play and I’d be a fit.”

Williams’ name surfaced after West Virginia pulled off recruiting Justin Martin, who is transferring out of Xavier. (He has committed to SMU.)

Williams averaged 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and had 27 steals last season for a South Plains team that went 29-6 and made a postseason run to the National Junior College Athletic Association Elite Eight. Perhaps oddly, the player’s scoring output hit 29, 27 and 24 points in some games and zero in others.

“I was trying to make sure I got my school work done,” Williams said. “Coach [Steve] Green knew I could play and wanted me to concentrate on school.”

Williams, who is now in his hometown of Orlando, Fla., after visiting Morgantown said Southern Miss and Florida International were recruiting him lately as well as WVU. Out of high school, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and UTEP were on him.

“This year I didn’t pick up my grades until late,” Williams said. “A lot of schools didn’t think I was going to get my grades. WVU was one of the first to call when I did.”

The 6-foot-6 player said he can play shooting guard or small forward, but is “more of a three [small forward] because of my size.”

“I have athleticism and size on the perimeter,” Williams added. “That was one of [WVU’s] weak areas last season.”

Williams averaged 13.9 points at Iowa Western College as a freshman. He attended Brandon Faith Baptist Christian School as a high school senior. He attended Winter Park [Fla.] High as a junior, when his team won a Class 6A state title.

“We are excited to get a player of this caliber this late in the recruiting process,” Huggins said via a WVU press release. “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 has two seasons of eligibility remaining. He joins newcomers Jevon Carter, Daxter Miles, Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip in the class.

Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.


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