In an interview with Mason County graduate Antwavon "Pig" Williams over the summer at the Dirt Bowl, the constant word Williams kept using was maturing.
Now in JUCO playing at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee, Williams used a year of prep school at TNG Academy in Athens, TN, to work on himself and his game.
"It helped me out a lot with the maturing process," Williams said. "Me going to prep school helped me out a lot with every aspect of my game, especially on the defensive end. It helped me mature more as a player and as a person."
Williams was constantly filling up the stat sheets in games for TNG last season, averaging 25.4 points, three assists and three rebounds a game. With the stat stuffing, so came the offers from schools, Wallace State, Roane State, South West, Chattanooga St and interest from a couple of Division I schools including Belmont and Murray State.
"After talking with my prep coach, Coach Casey, he told me it would be better if I went to JUCO, keep maturing and growing as a basketball player. Then I sat down with my mom and stepdad and they told me they liked the idea," Williams said.
So Columbia State and coach Winston Neal was the choice, who played his college basketball at Georgia Tech and has been an assistant at Southern Cal, Loyola Marymount and Jacksonville. Neal's track record to get kids to the next level is what sold Williams.
"Coach Neal played at Georgia Tech, all his guys usually go Division I, so when I sat down and talked to him this was where I wanted to be," Williams said.
Pig's first couple games with the Chargers so far is off to a good start. Williams scored 13 points in the season debut against WKCTC and followed it up with 18 points against his old team, TNG Prep Academy. The Chargers are 3-0 and Williams is averaging 15.4 points, three assists and three rebounds a game.
Williams plans to play two years at Columbia State and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
"Just depends on what's out there after," Williams said.
In the meantime, Williams will continue to fine tune his game and work on bettering himself with his outlook on life.
"I've become more respectful of people, more appreciative of the people around me that have supported me," Williams said.
Pig stated he doesn't want to be remembered as the kid who got kicked off the team the day before his team was set to play in the state tournament.
"That was the problem here, I was focused, but I just lost focus. When I talk about maturing, that's part of it, my mentality has changed and I'm just trying to stay humble," Williams said.
He acknowledged some people will know him for that one mistake and look at him differently for it, but that won't stop him on continuing who he wants to be, on and off the court.
"I've learned being on the court and off the court is just as important. I don't want people to know me as Pig Williams, the guy that played at Mason County, or D-1 or overseas or whatever. I want people to know me as a person, that one mistake, I know I have people who look at me different, that's going to happen," Williams said.
Now he's working on writing a new chapter in his life as he tries to earn his way into a Division I scholarship.
Columbia State returns to action Friday when they host Volunteer State. To track the Chargers online, go to www.columbiastate.edu and click on athletics and you'll find the basketball page.