BY DENNIS SILVA II | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
With 13 points during Friday’s District 19-6A win over Seven Lakes, Mayde Creek junior point guard Rommell Williams Jr. eclipsed the 1,000-point career scoring mark, a celebratory occasion that was met with cake and a commemorative basketball afterward.
Williams has emerged as one of the more underrated prospects in the Class of 2020. The 6-foot-2, 164-pounder is averaging 17.5 points, 4.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game for the 20-12 Rams, who won nine total games the previous two seasons.
But all Williams cares about is winning. The numbers are nice. But being in playoff contention in early February is even nicer.
Coaches and his father, Rommell Williams Sr., talk about Williams’ preference to discuss team and winning more so than his statistics or accolades. Mayde Creek is a winner this season, and that’s what matters most to the soft-spoken young man.
“It’s a good feeling. A great feeling. Last year, we didn’t do well,” Williams said. “But we knew coming into this year, under Coach (Anthony) Fobb, we were going to be better. It’s not a surprise, but this was expected. From day one, as soon as Coach came to talk to us to introduce himself, I knew.”
Fobb’s no-nonsense nature has infused discipline and direction into a program desperately needing it. It helps that his star player falls in line.
“It’s a major accomplishment for a guy that always wants to get his teammates involved,” Fobb tweeted after the game.
“He’s coachable. He wants to be the best he can be,” said Fobb, in his first year at the helm of the Rams. “Rommell really loves basketball. Sometimes kids say they love basketball, but I have 5 a.m. shootarounds every morning and he’s here every day.”
The buy-in is contagious.
“All of the guys have bought in. They allow me to coach them,” Fobb said. “Take a guy like (point guard) Isaiah (Battee), who’s allowed me to coach him and who’s really bought into defense. Sometimes it’s not easy to do. I coach summer ball, too, with some of the best players, and getting guys to play together … the first thing I focus on is defense. I’ll open the reins on offense if they play hard on defense. Defense is my baby.”
For Williams, it beats having to suffer through loss after loss like he did during his sophomore year on varsity last year, when the Rams went 6-26, and when he watched the varsity go 3-26 during his freshman year.
His father said the losing took a “psychological toll” on his son, because “losing was something he’d never endured before.”
So Williams went to work during the offseason working on his game, learning to be more aggressive and when to pass and when to shoot. Off the floor, he improved his leadership, asserting more of a vocal role in matters.
“It’s about keeping everybody accountable, man,” Williams said. “I’m just trying to be a leader, not just on the court but also in the classroom.”