By Barron Demons
A player certainly has talent if they are invited to the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Pensacola State Sophomore guard Gerald Williams has the size and athleticism to be a dynamic player at whatever level he plays.
I witnessed Williams at one of the home games against Gulf Coast last year do a windmill dunk during warm-ups just before the game started. I mentioned to him that I shook my head because of how easy he made it seem.
He smiled and said “Yeah,” as if it was nothing to him.
Being from New York, one of the most passionate states when it comes to basketball, the 6-foot-4 inch New York native was recruited by Big Ten schools Minnesota, Iowa, and even had an offer from Penn State. However, the talented big man hopes to improve his play at Pensacola State College.
Baseball was the first sport Williams played before transitioning to basketball.
“When I was in 8th grade, going into my 9th grade year, people told me I should consider playing basketball because of my size,” Williams said.
He started playing summer ball the summer going into his junior year. It was then he realized basketball was the sport for him. He was a starter all four years throughout his high school career. As a result, George Westinghouse High School reached the final four in 2016 for his senior year.
With his high school success, Williams grew up different than most kids. His parents who eventually separated, lived in the Bronx. He then decided to move in with his grandparents in Brooklyn.
“I still have a great relationship with my mom. She calls and texts me every day whenever she gets the chance. She tells me she loves me, and wishes me well,” Williams said.
Having been through so much growing up, Williams made an even bigger decision for himself, moving from New York, where there are a number of big name schools that are less than three hours away from Brooklyn: (Villanova, St. Johns, and Uconn), ultimately coming to Florida to attend Pensacola State College.
“Yes, I had received offers from bigger schools, but I decided to come to Pensacola State College because I wanted to play right away as well as to improve my game. My goal is to become a smarter player,” he said.
Williams also looks deeper into it. “I try to find out the players that are coming back, and how I fit into how a team plays. That’s why I chose Pensacola State College.”
Head Coach Pete Pena is very enthusiastic about his player.
“He is a great kid, a great competitor, and he fits into our program well,” he said.
During his freshman season, Williams played in 22 games and averaged 7.5 point per game.
After their season, the guard hopes to transfer to a Division One school to continue to play basketball.