The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Williams commits to Texas A&M

 

File photo: Tony Bullocks Danni Williams hopes to decide on a college by the end of the month.

Staff report

A year from now, Danni Williams will trade her purple and black for white and maroon, and District 4-6A for the Southeastern Conference.

Williams, a senior-to-be at Clovis, verbally committed Wednesday morning to join Texas A&M’s women’s basketball program for the 2015-16 season. She picked the Aggies, No. 4 in both the ESPN and SI.com preseason polls for next season, over 33 other declared Division-I offers.

link File photo: Tony Bullocks

Danni Williams made a verbal commitment to play Division-I basketball in the 2015-16 season at Texas A&M.

“It hasn’t all hit me, exactly,” Williams said. “The part that has feels really good. (I’m) relaxed, enjoying it, not having to stress. I wanted to be over with it.”

She picked the Aggies, No. 4 in both the ESPN and SI.com preseason polls for next season, over 33 other declared Division-I offers after taking an official visit over the weekend.

“When I got there,” Williams said, “I felt it was a real family environment and the coaches truly cared for the players, and not just in the basketball aspect. I connected with the players and I liked being around them.”

According to ESPN.com’s rankings of the Class of 2015, Williams is the No. 42 player overall and No. 12 guard, and is the only New Mexico player with a ranking. She has won the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year award the last two seasons, and is in the running to be the award’s first three-time winner.

As a junior, Williams averaged 24.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.9 steals for Clovis, which went 29-1 last season and fell in the Class 5A semifinals. She is 21 points shy of the school scoring record set by Antiesha Brown, who is currently playing at the University of New Mexico.

“We knew she had the chance to play college basketball even before she was in our program,” Clovis coach Jeff Reed said. “You knew there was something special. As she progressed to the ninth-grade level, you knew it was gong to be D-I. As she went through her sophomore year, it was going to be a higher D-I.”

She would be the 11th Lady Wildcat to play Division-I women’s basketball.

The verbal commitment is non-binding. Williams can sign a letter of intent either during the early period Nov. 12-19 or April 15-May 20 next year.

The Aggies, the 2011 national champions, finished 27-9 last season, losing to eventual champion Connecticut in the Elite Eight. It was their ninth-consecutive tournament appearance, 10th-consecutive winning season and eighth-consecutive 25-win season under Gary Blair.

Should Williams play as a freshman, as she has stated is a goal, she will have to fight for minutes. The projected lineup would include guards Courtney Walker, Courtney Williams and Jordan Jones, who finished strong sophomore seasons with the Aggies. Walker was an All-SEC first-team selection and honorable mention All-American, Williams a second-team All-SEC selection and Jones the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year.

Immediately, Williams said she’s happy to have the choice made because she doesn’t have to worry about her stock after every single AAU game over the summer. Reed is happy because Williams can just concentrate on high school basketball and try to help Clovis win a second state title in three seasons.

“I feel like it’s getting in there and working together,” Williams said. “The connections outside of basketball, that will come. The younger girls have to trust us, and we have to trust them. If they know we need them, they’ll be more motivated.”

 
 

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