Rashad Williams perseveres through tough season

Rashad+Williams+celebrating+against+Youngstown+State+in+the+quarterfinals.

Jose Juarez | OU Athletics

Rashad Williams celebrating against Youngstown State in the quarterfinals.

Matthew Scheidel, Sports Editor

It’s been a tumultuous year for all of us, but for junior point guard Rashad Williams, it’s been especially so.

I got into a car accident right before the season started [and] messed up my shoulder a little bit,” Williams said. “Then in the second game against Toledo, I ended up hurting my hip, so I had to sit. More recently before we played Cleveland State, I hurt my ankle. So I just got to give the glory to God for keeping me sane through all of this.”

After the shoulder injury healed a bit, Williams went off for back-to-back 30+ point performances against Oklahoma State and Michigan State. 

“I just remember that [Head] Coach [Kampe] was protecting me because of my shoulder injury,” Williams said. “Then I remember for the Oklahoma State game, [Kampe] said he was gonna let me go. I was really pleased to play against those guys — those were two really good teams, especially with Cade Cunningham [of OSU] potentially being the number one pick in the upcoming draft, and a good team in Michigan State. So it was just really fun getting out there and competing against two of the top teams in the country. Both of them [are] top 25 caliber teams. I really have fought with my teammates who are out there competing, and I think that really prepared us for now.”

Williams’ tough season culminated in a huge performance against Youngstown State in the Horizon League tournament quarterfinals. He had 22 points on 5-10 3-point shooting.

“My teammates did a fantastic job getting the ball to me when I was holding in my sweet spot,” Williams said. “I decided to return the favor and try to make things happen and try to help us win.”

Head Coach Greg Kampe said the team wouldn’t still be playing if it weren’t for Williams against Youngstown State. 

“That’s what great players do,” Kampe said. “They come up big when you need them to come up big. The year’s been a tough one for him because of no practice, injuries, things like that. And [then] we’re playing Cleveland State and he sprains his ankle. If there’s any team he probably wants to play, it’s Cleveland State. So just to go through that and one [punch in the gut] after another, to play like he did Tuesday night, just warmed my heart. It was great to see and I was really happy for him.”

Williams said he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder if Oakland makes the Horizon League championship game and faces Cleveland State, his former team.

“I talk to some of those guys who are still there, who were there when I was there,” Williams said. “I still talk to those guys often. I know they’re gonna be trying to come at us so we definitely got to be ready to attack them.”

Williams’ number one priority for the rest of his time at Oakland is winning.

“Obviously I want to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Williams said. “Winning the Horizon League is all I care about. Since I’ve been here, Coach Kampe can tell you that has been my motto — [the] number one priority is winning the championship. I saw Coach Kampe lose against the school that I was going to out of high school, Cleveland State, when Kendrick Nunn was here. So seeing that kind of inspired me, especially with me transferring here. That’s definitely something I want to get done is winning. That’s something I pride myself on.”