“He’s with us now. He’s on the team.” Two simple sentences from Georgetown Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Thompson III provided validation for a dream once in doubt for 6-foot-4 sophomore walk-on guard Riyan Williams, the newest and presumably final addition to the 2013-2014 Hoya roster.
Williams, the son of former Georgetown and NBA basketball player Reggie Williams, was first introduced to Hoya fans this summer through the Kenner League, an NCAA-sanctioned basketball league held each summer in McDonough Gymnasium that features top high school, college, and professional talent. Divided among various teams sponsored by local businesses, the Hoyas compete against each other for bragging rights, and simultaneously give coaches, scouts and the media a chance to track their offseason development.
From the beginning, it was clear Williams had the talent to earn the walk-on spot he strove for, as he excelled in Kenner League play.
“I’ve been trying to walk on for a while,” Williams said. “Coach Thompson is a great guy and told me at the beginning of the year to just focus on my grades, and that is the best advice he could give me…I worked hard in the classroom and got good grades, so I could put myself into the position to come to him with my transcript and say I want to walk on.”
Despite his off-court preparation, it seemed entering this year that Williams would be on the outside looking in. He was absent from practice, as well as Georgetown’s roster and media guide. Then, on Tuesday, Williams was seen suited up and shooting with the team in front of local media outlets, prompting questions about his spot on the team that were quickly and curtly affirmed by Coach Thompson.
Although Williams is expected to see little to no playing time this season as a walk-on, his athleticism, length, and shooting ability will be of value in team preparations, especially at the small forward position where so much uncertainty has emerged following expected starter Greg Whittington’s torn ACL.
Look for Williams, as well as the rest of the 2013-2014 team, at this Friday’s Basketball Tip-Off Party at 7:00 p.m. in McDonough, featuring a performance by B.o.B.