To say former Lafayette Christian basketball standout Greg Williams, Jr. experienced memories of a lifetime during three years of playing college basketball at St. John’s in New York City would be an understatement.
But following this past basketball season, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard began pondering his options.
First, he concluded it was time to continue his college career at least within shouting distance from Louisiana. Then came the ultimate decision to come all the way home and transfer to the UL Ragin’ Cajuns.
“Just being able to coming back to the area was definitely taken into consideration, but I told all the coaches that contacted me that it wasn’t all about location,” said Williams, who will have two years of eligibility left. “There’s nothing like being close to family, but it was more so about finding the right fit and what was best for my future.”
After Zoom interviews with UL coaches and players, Williams determined going all the way back to Lafayette was his best move.
“I really thought about how when we had our Zoom,” he said. “Facts just presented themselves … the analytics. Just looking at it from the outside looking in, it just looked like a good opportunity for me.
“Also, the members of the team that I had some relationships with, I told to them and it was really good conversations. So on top of the analytics, the relationships with the players and the coaches, it was good.”
Williams is coming off his best of three seasons in the Big East. He averaged 9.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 24.8 minutes of play with 18 starts in 24 games.
Not only did Williams shoot a career-best 73% at the free-throw line, he also enjoyed his best season behind the 3-point line at 44.8%.
“I definitely spent a lot of time in the gym,” Williams said of his 3-point shooting. “On top of that, I was able to have the opportunity to shoot the ball more. I was able to showcase what I felt like I could do, what I felt like I worked on. The numbers speak for themselves.”
In his second season, Williams averaged 5.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 23.4 minutes a game with 10 starts out of 31 games. He shot 65.9% at the line and 34.4 from 3-point lane. In his first season, he only started one of 28 games and averaging 2.0 points while averaging 8.4 minutes a game.
Williams said he played multiple positions at St. John’s but was without the ball most of the time.
St. John’s was 16-11 as a team last season, while the Cajuns were 17-9.
“Really, I just want to be able to showcase what I feel like I can do and what I’ve worked for,” Williams said. “I know they did good last year, and I just want to add on to that.”
Williams said he had no expectations of how hard it would be to leave home when he did three years ago.
“I was kind of used being away with tournaments and things like that, but never for that long a period of time,” said Williams, who was a four-star recruit out of LCA. “It was different. I definitely cherished the vacation time that I had — the couple days for Christmas and Easter.”
By no means does his decision to transfer indicate he regrets his time in the Big Apple.
“It was different,” he said. “I experienced a lot of different things. I took on a lot of responsibility. It really help me grow as a man. I had to take care of myself. I think it was good for me. I liked it.
“Coming back, it gives me a different outlook on things, and I was able to grow.”
And yes, Williams can personally verify how cool it is to play basketball at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s amazing,” he exclaimed. “I’m not going to lie to you. It’s definitely an experience. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing all the fans there and all the lights. It was definitely fun playing there.”