Williams to coach in North-South all-star game
Published 9:12 pm Friday, April 8, 2016
Cecil Williams has seen his players earn individual accolades and reap rewards from their success on the court. Now it’s his turn.
Williams was named as one of the three coaches of the South girls team in the 2016 North-South game July 20 at 6 p.m. on Alabama State’s campus.
He said he was surprised to find out he had earned his first ever trip to the North-South game as a coach.
“There were a lot of other coaches in the state, some with better records, also with better runs this year, and it’s just an honor to be chosen out of all the coaches to be able to coach the girls,” Williams said.
Williams will be coaching alongside Darryl Walton of LeFlore Magnet High School and Nigel Card of St. James.
Over the past two seasons and three of the last four, Williams has guided his team to the class 1A state semifinals or finals. In 2015, Williams led Keith to a 1A state championship.
He credits his team for allowing him to earn the honor of coaching in the North-South game.
“I told them, they helped me get to this situation just like I helped them,” Williams said. “It’s a team effort.”
Williams said he told his team about the honor he received and they said he earned it.
“Most of them congratulated me and said they were proud that I got the opportunity,” Williams said.
Sixty players from Alabama were chosen to be in the North-South games, but there were no players chosen from Selma-Dallas County to participate.
Williams said he recognized three names on his roster of 15 girls — Imaya Agee from Linden, Bianca Jackson of Brewbaker Tech, who averaged 22 points a game this past season, and Unique Thompson, a 6-foot-3 center from Faith Academy who averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
Williams said it’s been at least three years since he’s had a player with the size of Thompson, and he’s looking forward to coaching her in July.
“That’s a blessing to have someone that tall,” Williams said. “She’s dominant around the basket. I really like the way she plays.”
This year marks the second consecutive year a player or coach from Keith made the North-South roster. Last year, John Pettway and Harriet Winchester both earned spots on the roster as juniors.
When considering the history the North-South girls game, Williams has an uphill battle toward walking out of the Dunn-Oliver Acadome with a victory. The North girls won last year’s game 66-56 and now hold a 17-2 edge in the all-time series.
“I just never imagined that I would have the opportunity, but I feel blessed that I am and I thank everyone for it,” Williams said.