Disabato: H-F’s Williams will play hoops in college
Pat Disabato email@example.com | (708) 802-8837 December 5, 2011 7:36PM
Homewood-Flossmoor's Tim Williams has picked basketball over football as the sport he'll play in college. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: January 7, 2012 8:06AM
He will be remembered as one of the most skilled and productive two-sport athletes in Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s rich history.
He is the rare athlete who could alter the outcome of a game on the football field and basketball court.
However, Tim Williams knew he had to decide whether he preferred throwing a football or dribbling a basketball.
His future demanded it. But that didn’t make the decision any easier.
Williams completed 167-of-254 passes for 2,628 yards — the second straight season he topped 2,000 yards through the air — and 31 touchdowns during the recently completed season. He led the Vikings to the Class 8A quarterfinals, one year after guiding them to the 8A semifinals.
H-F football coach Craig Buzea said, “I personally would not have traded Tim for any other quarterback in Illinois.”
That’s indeed high praise.
Williams is no slouch on the hardwood, averaging 11.3 points and 6 rebounds for an H-F basketball team that boasts multiple scoring options.
College coaches, though, wanted to know which sport Williams wanted to dedicate the next four years to playing before offering a scholarship.
He thought long and hard about the decision.
Would it be football, where his big arm, mobility and 6-foot-7, 205-pound frame intrigued college coaches? Or would he play basketball, where his mad skills and versatility offer college coaches a player who can play any position on the floor?
“We sat down with the family after football season and explained to him that the market would open up a lot more if he would make a commitment either way,” H-F basketball coach Jim McLaughlin said. “He had to show that he was serious to play either football or basketball 12 months a year.”
Williams decided his first love is hoops.
Before his decision, Indiana State and Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne showed the most interest in Williams’ hoops skills. For football, it was Northern Illinois.
Of course, Division III programs offered the chance to play both sports. While the invitation was flattering, Williams would be short-changing his skills agreeing to play D-III.
McLaughlin expects the floodgates to open.
“He’s the best kid not signed in the state,” McLaughlin said. “He’s had a lot of interest. But now I think the D-I schools will show more interest. He’s a kid who can play any spot on the floor he wants.”
He also is an outstanding student, scoring a 25 on the ACT. That type of academic foundation will open up even more doors.
Are you listening, Bill Carmody? Depending on need, Northwestern would make perfect sense.
Williams’ ability to bury jump shots and be a force inside makes him a difficult match-up defensively. Few 6-7 kids have those skills. He also can handle the ball, and he excels in the transition game.
With only a dozen practices under his belt, Williams is not yet in basketball shape. That’s one of the drawbacks when one plays on a football team that advances deep into the postseason.
He’ll eventually develop basketball legs. The most important issue regarding Williams’ physical condition is that his right ankle is healed. He dislocated it in five different places during a pick-up game a day after the 2010 football season ended. He played a handful of games near the end of the 2010-11 basketball season but it was clear the ankle was not 100 percent.
That’s no longer an issue. Williams told me as much recently, declaring the ankle pain-free and good to go.
“He basically sat out the whole last year,” McLaughlin said. “He’s back to his old self now. He’s being physical down low, he’s explosive again. We’re expecting a big season from him. He looks good. We’ve got the old Tim back.”
That’s bad news for H-F’s opponents.