Williams Primed For Start

Devin Williams

Growing up in Cincinnati, Devin Williams has always been well aware of Bob Huggins' track record when it comes to producing talented power forwards.

With the likes of Kenyon Martin and Jason Maxiell at Cincinnati and Kevin Jones more recently at West Virginia, Huggins has been known throughout his 30-year head coaching career to help develop players and get them ready for the next step in their careers once they're done with college.

And although he's only been on campus in Morgantown for a few weeks and is preparing for his freshman season with the Mountaineers, Devin Williams admits that there's no doubt that that was a goal he had in mind when he chose to attend West Virginia.

"That's a big factor in me coming here. Every kid dreams of getting to the NBA and getting that chance to keep playing ball," Williams said. "I believe Coach Huggs give me a really good chance to get to do that.

"I'm a competitor, and when you take that and pair it with a coach who is just as competitive and is going to be able to teach me more things, it's just going to be a great ride."

Williams comes to WVU as one of the most highly touted recruits that Huggins has been able to get on campus during his tenure at his alma mater. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward was the No. 57 player in the 2013 recruiting class according to Scout.com, and turned down offers from schools like Memphis, Ohio State, North Carolina State and UCLA in favor of playing for the coach he grew up watching.

He's hoping he can come in and bring this WVU team something it was missing during last year's 13-19 season.

"I want to be that spark they need," Williams said. "I know everybody is hungry to be better and I just want to bring my effort and show everyone how much I want it out there and how much of a team player I am.

"I rebound. That's my strength, and if I can continue to do that, I think I should be able to come in and make an impact."

Now that he is on campus, Williams is one of a handful of WVU basketball players who are taking part in the Pittsburgh Pro-Am Summer League in Greentree, Pa. Through his first two games in the league, Williams is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds per game.

The freshman is playing alongside teammates Eron Harris and Richard Romeo for The Lair, and is getting the chance to become acclimated with his new teammates while also getting to play against other major college basketball-level competition instead of just going up against the same people he does every day in Morgantown.

"There are a lot of good guys here from all over the area, and every time I come out here it's a good basketball atmosphere. Everyone else is competing, and I know I'm going to compete," Williams said. "I think every time I come out and compete, I get better."

Williams comes to WVU from the prestigious Montverde Academy (Fla.) - where he spent his final season after playing his first three high school seasons at Withrow High School in Cincinnati.

Montverde ended the 2012-13 season ranked as the No. 1 high school team in the nation in USA Today's Super 25 poll, finishing the year with a 25-2 overall record and a victory over St. Benedict's Prep in the National High School Invitational championship game.

Williams played with two other blue-chip recruits at Montverde in Florida freshman Kasey Hill and Kentuckyfreshman big man Dakari Johnson. He said that playing against that kind of talent in his final season was helpful, but getting to live away from home and get an early look at what life would be like in college was possibly the most beneficial part of the transfer.

"It definitely helped going down there for a year and being by myself - having to wash my own clothes, get up for class by myself," he said. "Honestly, it made me realize that I didn't want to be that far away from home. This is perfect for me because it's only a few hours away."

As for this season, Williams' main focus is on doing whatever he can to help WVU improve.

"I want to win more games and make a name for myself," he said. "I want to come out and get respect from the conference and the players I'm going to be playing against. I just want to keep getting better and better."

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