Williamson reflects on freshman year

Daivien Williamson just finished up his freshman year at East Tennessee State University.

Williamson reflects on freshman year
May 23
00:30 2019

Daivien Williamson was a standout guard for the Phoenix of Winston-Salem Prep from 2014-2018. He decided to further his basketball career at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). After getting his feet wet on the collegiate level as a freshman, he is ready to take the next step forward in his career.

Williamson averaged 9.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds this year. He began the year coming off the bench, but entered the starting lineup midway through the year and finished with 16 starts on the season.

Stepping into a Division I program as a freshman, Williamson knew he had put in the work to become the player he knew he could be.

“I just wanted to go about it the right way,” said Williamson. “I knew I was a freshman going to a big time DI program, so I knew I had to earn their respect fast. I just wanted to get in where I fit in, so to speak.

“I had to adjust a little bit to the college life, going from Winston-Salem Prep, a little 1A school, to going to a school with 15,000 kids. I think I adjusted well and I earned my teammates’ respect as well.”

Williamson said he felt he had to bring his “A game” every day to compete on this level. It helped him develop as a player, he said.

“I knew day in and day out that I had to put my best foot forward, or I was going to get killed,” he said. “So me going hard every day, my teammates pushing me and my coaches pushing me just made me a better ball player.”

Scoring 20 points off the bench against Illinois was the game that let Williamson know he belonged on this level. He continued to gain more confidence as the season progressed and says he just had to get comfortable with college life.

Not only was Williamson a stud on the court, he maintained a 3.3 GPA this year as well. He said academics is still number one because he knows basketball can go away at any moment.

“It was kind of hard balancing everything at first, but I got a lot of help from teammates when I needed it,” he said.

Playing under Andre Gould, head coach at Winston-Salem Prep, prepared Williamson for the college game, he said. He credits Gould, the coaching staff, and his former teammates for helping his game progress over his four years at Prep.

“High school practice with coach Gould at Winston-Salem Prep was a lot like college,” he continued. “It’s real intense, it’s real fast-paced and it just gets you ready for the college game.”

Williamson has lofty goals for his sophomore season. He wants to become a first team all-conference selection and possibly player of the year for the Southern Conference. He knows he has things to work on to achieve this goal, so he’ll be working out all summer to improve his game.

The East Tennessee coaches have really pushed Williamson to become more aggressive as the season went along, he said. They have high expectations for him to do well, so Williamson has all the support one could ask for.

The support he has received from the coaches was the main reason Williamson wanted to attend ETSU initially. He said they were a perfect fit for his game.

“I just felt it was a good fit for me, because I had a great relationship with the coaching staff and their playing style really fits me because it’s a lot like Prep,” said Williamson. “We play really fast and we get up and down the court a lot. We press on the defensive end on the court and it’s a lot like Prep really.”

Williamson says it was somewhat of a surprise that he was able to transition to the college game so quickly, but on the other hand, he knew he would catch on eventually due to the amount of work he put into his game.

Williamson also has high goals for his Buccaneer team as well. He said it would be great to win the conference and earn a berth to the NCAA tournament.  

“We want to make some noise, we want to win some games and make it to the Sweet 16, at least,” he said. “I know I will be nervous, but that is something that every college player dreams of.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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