Williams Understands Winning Roles

Williams Understands Winning Roles

LITHONIA - Winning over 60 games, and back-to-back state titles the past two years, Donte Williams knows what a winning locker room feels like.

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Williams, who moved into his dorm at the University of Georgia Monday, won back-to-back state titles at Miller Grove his junior and senior seasons.

Playing on a loaded high school squad, Williams said, has prepared him for fitting into a college atmosphere.

"You've just got to fit your role," he said. "That's how it is this year with my high school team. You just can't score 30 points every night. Some times you've got to get 15 rebounds. Some nights you've got to score 20. Some nights you've got to have 10 blocked shots."

Williams, at 6-foot-8, 200-pounds, averaged 14 points a game his senior season, but isn't expected to fit into coach Mark Fox offense as a go-to scorer right away at Georgia. The scoring load, like last season, will fall on Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie.

Instead, Williams hopes to make his mark on the boards, and as a defensive-minded stopper in the paint. He averaged 11 rebounds and four blocks this past season.

"You've got to play your role, and I think that will help me at the next level," Williams said. "I don't have to try to do everything."

Williams may understand his role for the upcoming season. But, he's not settling for the future. Thompkins most likely will turn pro after this season. Leslie may follow him. Fellow post players Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes will graduate. Williams knows his time will come, and he'll be expected to be more than a just a contributor sooner than later.

"I would probably say I'm working most on my strength," he said. "I've been working out a lot, been in the weight room, and working on my mid-range jump shot. I'm trying to get ready so I can come in and help right away."

Still on the slender side, Williams is working on gaining weight, and strength. Although giving up weight to most SEC forwards, his wingspan is well over 7-feet. Williams' body type has brought comparisons to a successful SEC forward, Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado. Similar to Williams, Varnado is 6-foot-9, only 210-pounds. He finished his career as the leading shot-blocker in NCAA history, and is currently projected as a first-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

"I watched him play a lot," Williams said. "He's real long, and a great shot blocker. I think I could be a good shot blocker. I can see myself growing into a player like him a couple years from now."

On his visit to Georgia in the spring, Williams got to scrimmage live with current Bulldogs. The experience, while only brief, provided two realities. Williams said he could hold his own with players at the next level, but he still has work to do.

"I ran with the guys for a couple of 5-on-5 games," he said. "It felt good playing with guys at the next level. It let me know where I need to be at in the next couple of months, and it just told me a lot. It told me I needed to get better, and I still have a lot of stuff to work on. It was just a good experience to see what I had to work on."

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