Greg Williams has quickly become the Lafayette Christian Academy boys basketball team’s not-so-secret weapon.
When LCA coach Byron Starks needs someone to take over a game, there’s little doubt that he’s going to put the ball in the hands of the 6-foot-3 sophomore with the uncanny ability to dominate every position on the floor from point guard to center.
“He’s always been able to take over,” said Greg Williams Sr., his father. “He’s very consistent when they ask him to take over. Sometimes teams try to put a big (player) on him, They forget he’s a guard, and he can take advantage of those situations.”
The 2015-16 season marks a big year in the development of Williams, who has spent most of his high school career deep in the shadow of the twin duo of Jacob and Kalob LeDoux, who recently committed to play for McNeese next season.
This is the last year Williams will spend in that shadow, and he is eager to prove he is ready to take the helm for the Knights as an upperclassman.
His expectations are lofty, especially for an underclassman.
“He’s trying to model Kevin Durant and produce a 90-50-40 season,” Williams Sr. said. “He wants to shoot 90 percent from the free-throw line, 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line.”
And as ridiculous as it may seem, he’s not far off pace to achieve that goal.
Through eight games this season against such top-tier teams as Washington-Marion, reigning Class 1A champion Madison Prep and defending Class 5A title winner Scotlandville, which boasts one of the top sophomores in the country — Williams has shot 51.4 percent from the field, 44 percent from beyond the arc and 82.6 percent from the free-throw stripe.
He leads the Knights in blocks, steals, rebounds and assists.
And that’s after starting the season in a slump.
In the Knights first three games, Williams struggled to find a rhythm, shooting 9-for 26 from the field and turning the ball over seven times for an average of more than twice a game.
But something clicked in LCA’s second game in the Battle in the Lake Tournament in Lake Charles, when, after three neck-and-neck quarters against Washington-Marion, Williams took the game into his own hands, posting 10 points in the fourth quarter and lifting the Knights to a big win.
Since then, Williams has posted a nearly 61 percent shooting clip and averaged 18.5 points per game.
“Williams always touches in every stat category, whether it’s rebounding, getting steals, making big shots or free throws,” said LCA coach Byron Starks. “He’s just an all-purpose guy.
“He does whatever we need him to do, whether it be bring the ball up the court or play the post. He’s one of those go-to guys, and for a sophomore, he’s a very heads-up kid.”
The day after the Washington-Marion game, he finished a rebound shy of a double-double and posted 17 points, including a game-winning dunk, against Madison Prep before going head-to-head with Javonte Smart of Scotlandville, who has been touted as one of the top sophomores in the country and spent the last summer playing for Team USA.
The matchup was one that had been in the making for a long time, Williams said. The two have spent years trying to get on the court together on the same team over the summer. The opportunity for them to play on the same court finally presented itself in Lake Charles, but as opponents, and Williams said he wanted to make sure he made most of the opportunity.
Williams said Smart’s exposure compared to his own put a chip on his shoulder.
“We’ve been waiting a while to play, so it was a good matchup,” Williams said. “It was just a little statement. It showed where I am. Not a lot of people have seen me play, so I have to let everyone know.”
Smart and Williams put on a show in the tournament championship, combining for 55 points, with Williams scoring 26 after shooting 11-for-16 from the field in addition to recording four steals.
After the contest, Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample, a lifelong friend of Greg Williams Sr., praised Williams’ play
Greg Williams Sr. said Greg Jr. stays late after every practice to work on his free throws in hopes that he will eventually get it over 90 percent and pull off the 90-50-40 season that Kevin Durant inspired him to achieve.
But Greg Williams Jr. said Durant isn’t the only person he tries to emulate on the court.
“I want to be like Steph Curry, because everyone wants to shoot like that,” Williams said.
“But to be honest, as a complete player, I want to be like Draymond Green. He’s an energy guy. He picks it up, and he gets everybody right. He’s almost like the main motivational leader, and that’s what I want to be like.”