Rocklin’s Williams will head to Santa Barbara for hoops

Guard averaged 18.3 points during his senior season
By: Russ Edmondson, The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High 2010 graduate Tony Williams will be a preferred walk-on for UC Santa Barbara’s men’s basketball team. Williams averaged 18.3 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals for the Thunder (22-10 record) during his senior season. “I went (to Santa Barbara) with one of my friends (on March 28) and scheduled a time to talk to the (basketball) coaches and brought some of my film down with me,” said Williams, 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds. “And they wanted to see my play in person and we scheduled another date (in April) for me to come back down to play with the team and (after that) they said they would love to have me play for them. “I just had to get my application stuff down and they would push it through to get it done. And there were about 47,000 applicants for about 4,000 spots so that was a big deal (for them to do that).” Williams then applied to Santa Barbara and was admitted. He will receive financial aid to help him afford the tuition. Other schools that had shown an interest in Williams for basketball included the Air Force Academy, the University of Puget Sound (Washington), Dominican University in San Rafael and California State University at East Bay. “They all would have had me play for them,” Williams said. But Williams fell in love with Santa Barbara. “When I went down there to visit with my friend, he had been accepted (to Santa Barbara) early, and he just excited me to come down with him,” Williams said. “I wasn’t even really thinking about (going to college there). I said ‘maybe I should bring my tapes down?’ And it’s the most amazing place and I can’t even describe it. I just really knew I wanted to go there. And of course it’s a UC education.” Williams impressed the coaches when he scrimmaged with the team at Santa Barbara in April. “We had scrimmages and I was teamed up with a few of the guys,” said Williams, who can play both guard positions. “There were three starters on my team and we were cleaning up and we were playing really good. Both assistant coaches were watching and I got a call from the head coach (Bob Williams) a few days later.” Tony Williams is planning to move to Santa Barbara in September. “Guys on scholarship have to go down in August and that’s kind of expensive but they don’t require walk-ons to do that,” Williams said. “I’ll go down there in September (for school) and I’ll also play with the guys in the summer here or there.” Williams can’t wait to be a college basketball player. “I am very excited,” Williams said. “It’s been my dream since I was little to play Division I (basketball) and whatever it takes to get there. And I’m working towards getting a scholarship (following the first year).” Williams grew up in Lincoln and played for Lincoln High as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Rocklin before his junior season.