Senior keeps sights on his college goals

q&a gionni williams, oakland mills, basketball

March 08, 2009|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to the Baltimore Sun

Oakland Mills senior Gionni Williams says he's always been a scorer, even from his earliest days playing basketball.

Two weeks ago, the 6-foot guard made history, scoring a school-record 45 points in a 65-49 win over Reservoir, also setting a school mark with eight three-pointers. For the season, Williams averaged better than 21 points per game, helping the Scorpions more than double their win total of a year ago.

Next, the 17-year-old plans to take his game to Allegany College in Cumberland, where he hopes to follow the likes of Steve Francis, Jamar Smith and Ryan Randle to a Division I program.

You certainly had a game to remember a couple of weeks ago when you scored 45 points against Reservoir. What do you remember about that night?

It was senior night, and it was actually my goal to break the school record, which was 40 points. I told coach [Jon] Browne and my teammates that I was going for the record. In the fourth quarter, I was at the free throw line and they were saying, "You've got 39." I made the first one, so that was the school record, then I made the other one, and I passed it.

When you're scoring so many points like that, does it become tougher to keep it up throughout the game, as the defense keys on you more and more?

No, it gets easier. At that point, I feel like I can't miss. There's nothing that they can do.

As a team, you guys finished with 13 wins, more than doubling your win total of last season. Did you expect to do that well, or was it a bit of a surprise?

We definitely expected it. We worked hard all summer, and that was our goal - to do much better than last year.

You've unveiled your plans to attend Allegany College in the fall. Why there?

I'm looking to go there and play basketball, then transfer to a bigger school. They're a good JuCo team, and I feel as though I can help them, and they can help me.

What do you think you will need to improve upon at Allegany to draw interest from Division I programs?

I would have to say my strength and conditioning. It's something I need to do to get to the next level. I need to get much stronger and faster. I also want to become more of a lock-down defender and finish more of those and-ones in the lane.

You just completed your third year on varsity. Thinking back to when you first came up from J.V., have you seen a big improvement in your skills?

Definitely. I had always been a scorer, but I worked on my game a lot in the summertime, played a lot of AAU ball, and it just paid off. Coach Browne told me he needed me to be his scorer, so I had to live up to that.

Your coach said that you always seem to be happiest when you're on the court. Is that true?

Yeah. It's a fun game. There's no need to be too tense. I like to have fun and be relaxed when I play. That's something that works for me.

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