Feb. 13, 2010
St. Joseph Native Williams Ready For Western
It had been more than 15 seasons since a Northwest freshman appeared in the starting lineup on opening day, but Bryston Williams ended that drought when he took the floor against Manhattan Christian back in November. He takes on his hometown team for the first time as the Bearcats host Missouri Western at 3:30 p.m. today from Bearcat Arena.
Williams has started 12 games in his rookie season and played in two others. He missed a string of eight games with a foot injury, which included an early January loss against Missouri Western in Williams' hometown of St. Joseph. He's averaged better than six points and 23 minutes in six games since and figures to be a key player down the stretch in helping the Bearcats reach the MIAA tournament.
A lofty 19 points per game average at Lafayette High School put Williams on the radar of a number of collegiate programs. It quickly drew the attention of Northwest assistant coach Austin Meyer.
"I was always interested in Northwest, but I wanted to make sure they were interested in me" said Williams. "I met Coach Meyer and really enjoyed talking with the staff up here. They didn't know who was going to be the coach at the time, but Coach Meyer always kept in contact."
Ben McCollum was named Northwest's head coach on the final day of March. Williams signed a national letter of intent less than three weeks later.
"I saw a lot of Northwest's games in high school so I knew quite a bit about the program," said Williams. "I received a lot of help from (Lafayette) coach (Chris) Neff throughout the process.
"When it came down to it, I wanted to find a home and a program that was more like a family and Northwest has provided that."
It also helped that Maryville is less than an hour from his parents, Stacey and Roger, his older brother, Brandon, and his younger sister, Brenna. His family has attended every home game and made several road trips this season.
Williams rooms with fellow frosh DeShaun Cooper and has enjoyed getting to know the stories of teammates Arunas Simanavicius and Maciej Ustarbowksi, who hail from Lithuania and Poland, respectively. He's also found a terrific tutor in senior guard Girod Adams.
"Girod's always going to have your back," said Williams. "He's always going to play hard and he's not going to give up. He's going to do everything he can to get a win."
That's the message Williams and his teammates has been given heading into today's rivaly game with the Griffons (14-9, 9-7 MIAA).
"It's going to be a physical game played in front of a great crowd," said Williams. "We beat (then-No. 3) Fort Hays State on our home court last time here and that's given us a lot of confidence. We need to come out, play hard and compete."
Williams has averaged six points and nearly three rebounds and two assists this season. He's shooting 51 percent from the field, which ranks fourth on the squad, and 83 percent from the foul line, which ranks second. Northwest (11-11, 6-9 MIAA) will play three of its final five regular season games at home.
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