Southern Lab girls basketball player Cailain Williams rolls her eyes every time someone mentions her nickname, “Geico.”
She doesn’t like it, but unfortunately it’s become the way people identify her as the name has seeped outside the basketball program into the school’s general population. It even reached a point last season where her father made shirts with the moniker on it.
It started as an inside joke from her coach, Henry Combs, about how she walks like the gecko from the insurance commercials but has since transformed into something more meaningful after her breakout freshman season with the Kittens last year.
“The real reason was because of the way she walked and how her knees were always bothering her,” Combs said.
“But later on, I realized it was a good name because she was going to be an insurance policy (for the team), and it stuck.”
Williams said, even though she may not like the nickname, she does enjoy the responsibility she’s been given in the program, especially after only playing one full season in the high school ranks.
As a freshman, the 6-foot-2 Williams established herself as one of the top talents in the Baton Rouge area, playing mostly along the wing and down low on the post.
The Williams’ family phone has been ringing off the hook this summer as colleges have begun fighting for the incoming sophomore, including offers from Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Grambling and McNeese State. Williams’ father, Colin Williams, said he’s also received calls from LSU, Kansas, Kansas State and Georgia.
But much like being called “Geico,” Williams doesn’t enjoy playing the post much, saying she prefers to shoot the ball from the outside or drive to the basket.
That won’t be a problem for Combs, who plans to move his “insurance policy” around the court to nearly every position this season, including significant time at point guard.
“If I get a small guard, I can shoot over them,” Williams said. “But when I get big people, like real post players, I actually drive or jab step and shoot because they think I’m a post player, but they don’t know everything I can do.”
Combs has lofty goals for Williams this season, including being one of the top scorers and rebounders in the state “bar classification.”
He said moving Williams around the court, according to matchup, will help her achieve some of those goals.
But it doesn’t matter to Williams where she plays next year, she’s looking to achieve everything she fell short of as a freshman.
Williams hasn’t forgotten how she was edged for District 6-1A MVP honors or how she made honorable mention on the all-state team, not first team, despite having similar averages to some of the juniors and seniors on the list.
“Looking at all my accomplishments of the year, I thought I should have made it,” Williams said.
“I want to do everything (this year): all-district first team, (district) MVP, All-Metro, all-state.”