Boys basketball Athlete of the Year
New skills helped Williams lead team to title
Terry Williams of Bamberg brings the ball up the court guarded by Baumholder's Ben McDaniels in the Division III title game at the DODDS-Europe Basketball Championships in Wiesbaden, Germany, last month. Williams has been named the Stars and Stripes boys basketball Athlete of the Year.
Terry Williams spent the offseason on his tiptoes. By season’s end, he could see over all of DODDS-Europe.
Now the Bamberg senior is the Stars and Stripes boys basketball Athlete of the Year.
Over the summer, ankle and knee injuries lingering from Williams’ role on the 2011 Barons football team kept him from his usual offseason training regimen.
Instead of sprinting, he shuffled around the perimeter.
Instead of lifting, he lofted long, arcing jumpers.
Williams recalled spending long hours in the gym over the summer, supporting his 6-foot-5 frame on one leg while “tiptoeing” on the other. He skipped his senior football season to focus on a full recovery and prepare for his primary sport.
By the time Bamberg’s hoops season started in November, the athleticism Williams had long relied on had still not fully returned. In its place, however, he had something new - a deadeye mid-range jump shot, flicked with a feathery touch from a release point high above where any high school opponent in Europe might hope to block it.
Williams credits the addition to his participation in a local German club league, where he regularly matches up with bigger and stronger players. The tallest player in almost any DODDS-Europe game, Williams is a swingman on the German circuit, steadily accumulating the skills needed to effectively play the wing.
“It’s kind of an underappreciated skill,” Williams said. “Not many people like to pull up from midrange.”
Heidelberg head coach Justin Bates certainly learned to appreciate it.
The defending Division I champions encountered Williams on the final weekend of the regular season. In the first game of the Friday-Saturday doubleheader, Bates trained his team’s defensive focus on Williams. The “savvy” senior willingly passed out of the swarming defense, Bates said, yielding a 23-point night from Andrew Reed and a 19-point effort from Tymon Blow in a 62-49 Barons win.
The next day, with the Lions defensive attention effectively dispersed, Williams brandished his new weapon.
“Most of his shots were from 12-to-15 feet, anywhere from the elbow to the wing,” Bates recalled. “He was just on fire. There was nothing we could do. He was so smooth, and in such a rhythm.
“We just had to sit there in awe.”
Williams scored 28 points, twice the total of the game’s next-highest scorer, and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds as Bamberg took a 71-55 victory.
Those eye-popping stats weren’t far from Williams’ senior routine. He averaged 22 points, 14 rebounds and 3 steals a game in the regular season, teaming with fellow senior Andray Gibson and the dynamic sophomore Reed to push Bamberg’s ceiling far above its Division III roots. The Barons peaked with a win over regional rival and soon-to-be Division I champion Patch on Jan. 19, with Williams posting a stout 12-point, 12-rebound double-double.
The postseason was mere formality as the Barons took their inevitable spot at the head of an overmatched Division III class.
With a high school championship now finally in his possession, Williams now looks forward to the future.
He said he’s “realistic” about the level of competition awaiting him and has no illusions that he’ll return stateside as some exotic conquering hero from abroad. He’d like to catch on with a two-year college program and chart a course to the NCAA Division I or II ranks. He plans to study theology and pursue a career in medicine.
Along the way, Williams knows he’ll need to improve his three-point shooting to be a viable collegiate shooting guard or small forward. Another summer in the gym, this time on two fully-functional legs, might make that happen.
“I still have a lot to work on,” Williams said. “I can still be a lot better.”