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In Search of Paul Williams
In Search of Paul Williams
Jim Meadows
Published by Swampy Meadows
In Search of Paul Williams

BEVERLY HILLS (MI) –- Detroit has been a very fertile recruiting ground for UD over the years in terms of HS hoop talent, going all the way back to Bill Chmielewski in the early ‘60s. Former Flyers like Johnny Davis, Erv Giddings, Negele Knight, Ryan Perryman, Allen Elijah, Dave Abel, Eric Matthews, Leighton Moulton, Michael Harmon, Nick Ferri and of course, current UD hoopster Devin Searcy all hail from the metro Detroit area.

All this week, Renaissance High School here in Detroit is hosting a HS Holiday Hoops tournament, for both girls and boys squads. RHS is located on Outer Drive, not too far from Peterson Park, for those of you who might recall my “FTS” from a few years back about my pick-up hoops exploits there in the early ‘80s when I first moved to Motown.

I had seen video online of Paul Williams play vs. Detroit King HS when he lit up the Crusaders for 37 points and I was extremely impressed with both his range and his ability to create his own shot. The RHS/Riverview Pirates game was my first chance to see UD’s latest Detroit recruit in person. Renaissance is a beautiful facility that is only 3 years old. I got there in time to see Oregon State-bound Kavon Rose and his Finney HS teammates finish off Marysville.

Just as he did vs. King, PW opened the game with a 3 pointer and followed it up with another one on the next possession. Boom -- 6-0 Renaissance. Paul then looked to set up his teammates and only took one more shot in the quarter. In the 2nd frame, he took only 4 shots, making one layup. At the half, RHS only lead by six, 45-39.

It was here that PW imposed his will. He and his mates locked down and trapped on defense, forcing many Pirate turnovers. Paul took charge on offense, as well, hitting two 3 pointers and a pair of 2 pointers for 10 points, equaling the output of the entire Pirate squad in the quarter. When he wasn’t scoring, PW was directing the younger players on the floor and telling them where they should be on D. Paul and fellow senior Ian Larkin (UD Mercy) hardly played in the 4th period and the Phoenix won going away 85-69. Larkin finished with 23 points, while Paul had 18 on 7-14 shooting, with 5 boards, 2 dimes, 2 steals and 1 block.

After the game, I asked RHS Coach Cameron Nichols about his UD-bound senior and he had nothing but praise. “Great kid, works hard, always in the gym, constantly looking to improve” was his assessment. Coach Nichols was a pretty fair player himself at Cass Tech HS and at Saginaw Valley, later playing overseas.

While waiting for PW to come out of the locker room, I chatted with Rod Beard of the Detroit News, who had been nice enuf to correspond with Chris Rieman about Paul in a recent Pride Plus Q&A. Beard has seen Paul many times in the last 3 years and is very impressed with PW’s game. He mentioned that last year, Paul was under wraps as far as scoring was concerned and the one time they turned him loose, PW tallied 55. Rod compared Williams to Manny Harris, the difference being that Paul has Ian and junior PG Delano Collins to help carry the scoring load for RHS. Rod said he can’t wait to see what Paul can do in a big game against a premier opponent like the upcoming rematch with PSL power Henry Ford.

When Paul came out, I asked him what his actual height and weight was: he’s 6’3” and 205, so I don’t think we have to worry about him getting pushed around. He said that a lot of people have compared his game to former OSU star Michael Redd. I dated myself by telling PW that he reminded me of former Milwaukee Buck Paul Pressey, a 3 point shooter and lock-down defender with good size, all tools that PW possesses. I noticed that Paul wears one long stocking and one short one and didn’t know if there was a reason for that, or if he was just making a bold fashion statement. It turned out to be the former, as he does that to keep his right leg warm and prevent cramping. Paul said he keeps in touch with the other three 2008 recruits via Facebook and he is anxious to get to UD and work on his strength and conditioning. Unfortunately, he and his Phoenix pals will be facing off vs. Westland John Glenn on Saturday night when UD is playing Pitt, so he’ll have to wait to see a tape of it. He hasn’t had the chance to get down to the Arena to see a live game and is looking forward to taking one in soon. When I asked him about winning the State Championship when he was a sophomore, he said it was unbelievable and it took a day or two for it to sink in after it happened. Paul is a very personable young man and carries himself like the winner that he is.

Now that I know how to get to RHS and what a great facility it is, I won’t be a stranger, that’s for sure. I went in search of PW and what I found is that we’ve got ourselves a keeper, Flyer Fans.

That’s it “From the Swamp.”

You can email me at: swampy@udpride.com
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By Chris R on 12-28-2007, 12:19 AM
Thumbs up

great article swamper!!! this guy will make us better from day one.
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By UDBrian on 12-28-2007, 09:54 AM
Great article Swampy
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By San Diego Flyer on 12-28-2007, 11:13 AM
Great insight. Thank you. My first stop every morning is to read any input on our recruits, and your accounts of Paul Williams are primo.

I'm not sure the majority of the board realizes what we have in Williams, particularly in light of Roberts graduation.
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By Swampy Meadows on 12-28-2007, 02:46 PM
I just got an email from Rod Beard at the Detroit News and he's working on a piece on PW for Monday's edition, so our guy will be getting some major ink...soon!
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