Athlete of the Week: CF’s Williams makes crossover

Aaron Williams has always considered himself a football player playing basketball.

Now in the second half of his senior season, people are beginning to wonder if those roles have been reversed.

Sure, Williams had another successful season on the gridiron, catching 40 passes for 601 yards and eight touchdowns for the Panthers. And he has several scholarship offers to play football in college.

But Williams, also an accomplished track and field athlete, is finally starting to blossom on the hardwood for Carolina Forest this year.

“Football has always been my best sport, ” said Williams, who was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week to start the 2012 calendar, “but I’ve always loved playing basketball.”

Williams’ preference was actually made easy for him by his high school teams’ fortunes. The 6-foot-1 wide receiver has been a three-year starter, but the shooting guard is in his first full season of seeing significant minutes.

The disparity wasn’t because of a lack of talent on Williams’ part but a excess of talent on the basketball team in previous years. The Panthers lost eight seniors, opening the door for Williams to shine on the hardwood.

“Aaron really didn’t play much until this season,” saod Carolina Forest coach Brian Brunson. “He’s always been a talented kid and he’s really starting to show it this year.”

Williams had a 22-point performance last week against Socastee and he added a pair of 15-point outings this week to help the Panthers improve to 2-0 in Region VIII-AAAA play.

But it’s more than hi scoring that is having a positive impact for the Panthers. Williams has become a bit of a quarterback on the court, distributing the ball and taking it away to help his team.

“Aaron always draws the toughest defensive assignment, and he usually does a good job of holding his guy in check,” Brunson said. “He can shoot, but he’s also an unselfish player. That’s what we need if we’re going to succeed.”

Williams attributes teamwork for his individual success. While he and his fellow seniors were waiting their time for the chance to play, they were also forming a tight bond that is paying off dividends this season.

“There are four of us who have been playing together since the seventh grade,” Williams said. “We all play together really well and we don’t care who scores the most points or whatever as long as we win.”

It’s proving to be a successful formula so far this season, one that has even Williams pondering his future in sports. Could it be that he’s been a basketball player playing football all along?

“I’ve got some offers for football and I’m taking some visits,” said Williams, listing Elon, Wingate and Tusculum College as possible destinations. “But if I get the chance to play basketball, I might take it.”

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