Chaz Williams is trying in vain to follow in the footsteps of some great players who came out of Brooklyn and star in the National Basketball Association. Bishop Ford and Xaverian from the Catholic Schools Athletic Association and Lincoln from the Public Schools league are the teams that produced some tremendous players.
After completing an illustrious career at Ford taking his team to the State Championship of New York which his team won, the 5’9” Williams went on to Hofstra University, transferred out, and is now at the University of Massachusetts.
Chaz said that he tries to modernize his game after the small guards. However, his favorite player was Allan Iverson, who starred over some years with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Williams grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn where he had an illustrious career at Bishop Ford High School, located in Brooklyn. He was really known as a tremendous offensive player.
An excellent defensive player as well, he had an excellent eye for the ball and court, had good court vision, made good decisions, set up his teammates so that the ball went into the hands of the front court players, and scored when needed. He played both the scoring and point positions.
In his junior year, he helped to lead Bishop Ford to the New York State Championship and in the final of championship contest scored 32 points and handed out for 12 assists.
He was indeed one of the best players, Ford ever produced. And they had some good ones over the years.
The adjustment that he made from high school ball to the college scene was learning the ropes and understand the college game as it is played on the next level.
After averaging 25 points and six assists as a senior, his goal was to reach the State tournament once again in his senior year. but it was derailed with a post season shoulder injury. An all-American high school player, he landed at Hofstra University where he played and started under Coach Tom Pecora. When the latter left to assume a similar position at nearby Fordham University the student athlete transferred out, took a year off sitting on the best, learning and this past season led UMass to the semi-final round of the 75th anniversary of the National Invitation Tournament.
“Pecora was one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever played for,” Williams went on during the time of the National Invitation Tournament. “I always wanted to play for a point guard. He’s a great coach. It didn’t get any better than that.”
This year Chaz who is fast both offensively and defensively, really blossomed out…and as a true point guard topped the team in points a game (17), and assists (6). His total assists of 231 passed the record previously held by UMass coach for sophomore Derek Kellogg who totaled 203 in 1995-1996.
“Derek Kellogg was a great point guard for UMass,” said a team spokesman about recruiting Williams. “He needed someone to drive his new offensive style of play. Chas filled that (role) perfectly. In one year he was able to share his leadership and energy with the team. He is a hard working. player.”
However, coming back home and play in the National Invitation Tournament brought the fans out especially to cheer Chaz Williams and his teammates on.
“Our point guard play out of Williams has gotten a lot better during the last month,” Kellogg said. Before the semi-final game when Stanford defeated Umass, 74-64, Chaz did not show much when he went 7 for 18 field in the semi-final contest.
“He’s making a lot better plays than he did at the beginning of the season,” according to Kellogg. “His decision making is much better and he is getting better defensively. He was very good at Hofstra and he’s capable of ball-hawking anybody on the court.”
During the season he kept on improving and now has to be a leader come November during his junior year.
The coaching change at Hofstra was the reason for his transfer. Pecora ended up at Fordham University.
“Sitting on the bench (in his first year after playing for Hofstra), I learned everything,” Chaz said. “It’s a different aspect of the game than playing it. You are doing homework while the coach is there. We had a great year while at UMass…”
Chaz has two more years left of eligibility while at UMass. He has to work on his game. During the off season he will work out and has still to improve on all aspects of the sport. Coach Kellogg told him to use his speed and ability as best as he could each time on the court.