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CCRI’s Williams named First Team All-American!
For the second year in a row CCRI men’s basketball standout Desmond Williams (Torrington, CT) has earned First Team All-American honors by the NJCAA for division II men’s basketball. Williams becomes the first men’s basketball player to earn back-to-back First Team All-American honors in the rich history of the Knights men’s basketball program.
This year the Knights went 20-12 this season and lost a hard-fought 78-85 battle with Monroe Community College in the District Championship game. Over Williams’ two-year career the Knights went 51-17 winning back-to-back Region XXI titles one District title and made it to the National Championship game in his freshman year. Head Coach Rick Harris commented about his talented sophomore: “Our staff is very proud of our team’s accomplishments over the past two years. 51-17, National Finalists & two time New England Champions can only be accomplished with sophomore players like Desmond Williams, Bryan Yarce (Cranston, RI), Isaac Medeiros (Johnston, RI), Steve Bevilacqua (Exeter, RI), and Rob Alers (Central Falls, RI). My staff and I are proud to have been able to work with all of them over the past two years. Hearing today that Desmond was named NJCAA DII First Team All-American for the second straight year made me realize once again how talented an individual he really is. Being the first two-time First Team All-American in CCRI's rich basketball history is quite an accomplishment for Desmond. With players like Rick Santos, Billy Perry, Mike Hazard, Abdul Abdullah, Kenny McDonald and Marvin Owens, ‘Des’ is in great company. Even more than a great player Desmond is wonderful young man. He is a team player who always put his teammates and team first.”
As a sophomore Williams was a Co-Captain and was just as impressive as he was in his freshman campaign. He and Yarce led the Knights to an impressive 20-12 record and second Region XXI title in two years. Williams was a prolific scorer for the Knights who was ranked No. 6 in the nation this year by the NJCAA averaging 22.7 points per game and ended his career as No. 4 all-time scorer in CCRI history with 1,332 career points. In his sophomore year Williams scored in double-figures 26 of the 27 games he played in including erupting for 30 or more points five times and 20 or more points 17 times. For his efforts Williams was also honored as the Steve McDonald Award winner as the DIII/CC Co-Men’s Player of the Year by Cox Communications for the second year in a row.
As a freshman Williams came into the season as a mid-major Division I recruit and has quickly elevated his stock to a high Division I talent. Williams charted double-digit scoring in 33 of his 35 games played with his season-high of 41 coming in the NJCAA Division II National Championship semi-final 83-78 victory over South Suburban College where he put up the ridiculous stat line of 41 points, nine steals and eight rebounds to lead the Knights to the National Championship game. Williams averaged 20. 6 points per game ranking him No. 17 in the Division II NJCAA men’s basketball while adding 3.1 steals to rank No. 10 in the NJCAA. Williams and backcourt mate Bryan Yarce where a formidable one-two punch and quite possibly the best back court in the Nation. Williams also averaged 2.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game to help the Knights. Desmond was named NJCAA Division II men’s basketball player of the week for the week of February 1st. He was also named to the All-Tournament team at the NJCAA National Tournament in Danville, IL, where he helped lead his to a second place finish. In addition, he was named First Team All-American by the NJCAA.
Coach Harris added: “While other team's players would seek 35 point games, Desmond would instead seek smiling teammates and satisfied coaches along with team victories. I love all my past and present players both while coaching in high school at Cranston East as well as here at CCRI, but Desmond would rank right up there with my favorite people to have coached. Sammy (Hajinian), Soap (Toun), Patrick (Dame), Bryan, Isaac and Des will always be the standard by which I measure the great young men I get to work with on a daily basis. Desmond's fluidness shooting the three or in getting to the rim as well as watching him deflect a pass with his perfectly coordinated length were things we did not have to teach. He is a once every ten-fifteen year player if a coach is lucky. His well-mannered personality and smile most of all were what made working with Des and this team a pleasure over the past two years. My staff and I congratulate him and wish him the best as he moves on to bigger and better things!”
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.