Bronx Native Chooses A School From SEC

Bronx native Brian Williams will play in the SEC next season ...

The Southeastern Conference already has a Big Baby to contend with. Now, a newcomer boasting the same nickname and similar stature is on the way.

Brian Williams is bound for Tennessee. The 6-foot-9, 315-pound center/forward from Harmony Prep in Cincinnati, Ohio, made a verbal commitment to the program on Friday.

"I liked everything about it," said Williams, who visited Tennessee officially two weeks ago. "They didn't have any big men coming in, nobody coming in at my position. It's a chance to play in the SEC."

Williams had also taken an official visit to New Mexico State. Rhode Island and UMass were also seriously considered, according to Harmony coach Mark Metzka. Brian had also received interest from Pittsburgh, St. John's, and Cincinnati.

A native of the Bronx, Williams attended Christopher Columbus High School in his home borough, but only played on the basketball team as as senior, averaging 8.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. He moved onto Harmony in the fall of 2005, reclassifying as a member of the class of 2007. He ran with the Long Island Lightning on the AAU circuit and had a hand in the team's deep run at Las Vegas Big Time in July.

While Williams only has a few years of organized ball under his belt, his innate aptitude for the game suggests that as he continues to learn the game and develop, he has a chance to be a valuable contributor in time.

"The biggest thing with him is that there aren't a whole lot of guys out there like him," said Metzka. "He brings a whole new dimension because of his size."

Williams has good instincts and a surprising amount of court savvy for a player his size. Whether it is flicking a touch pass to a teammate in the low post or making some other heady play, Williams has displayed a good feel for the game.

"He's relatively new to the game but has a high basketball IQ considering that," said Metzka. "He has a great feel for the game. He's an excellent decision-maker and he's very unselfish. He passes the ball very well."

That's not to underscore Williams' biggest asset: his size. He is virtually immovable on the low block. His weight has been an issue, but he has put some serious work into it over the past six months.

"I've lost about 50 pounds so far," said Williams. "And I haven't even dieted. When I diet, I believe I can lose more."

"He's around 315 pounds right now," said Metzka. "Our goal is to have him around 290 by the time he leaves here. He has a very big frame, so he probably wouldn't be able to go much lower than 275. That's just the way he's built."

Then there's the nickname. Williams was tabbed as the second coming of "Big Baby" Glen Davis during a stint at the IS8 League in Queens as a senior playing with Bingo's All-Stars. It stuck. With Williams' personality and charisma, it wouldn't shock us to see him become a fan favorite in Knoxville.

"He brings something to Tennessee that they haven't had," said Metzka. "A true low post presence."

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