COVINGTON -- Ashley Williams can be considered a basketball phenom. The Alcovy senior went from playing organized basketball for the first time in eighth grade to becoming Alabama's newest recruit five years later.
"When I came out of eighth grade I didn't think I was that good. I've grown so much," Williams said. "I've grown so much with Coach K (Kidada Holtzclaw). She has developed me into a better person and a better player."
"Basically, she has the will to succeed. She's been able to develop some skills over the last few years but she's still raw. For her to be as successful as she has says a lot about her character. We've been able to build a program around somebody who's only been playing basketball for a short amount of time. That's really exciting," Holtzclaw said. "I think that when colleges looked at Ashley, they saw the athleticism; they saw the raw ability; they saw the hard work and the fact that she had a few skills and a lot of upside. They saw that her best basketball is ahead of her and that's exciting."
When Williams steps on the court she will be expected to prove her worth from the get-go. The year that she shows up, Alabama will have four seniors, three juniors and two sophomores. Even though she knows there will be some pressure on her to perform, she knows that she'll be able to do it. The transition from high school to college should not to be that overwhelming since Alcovy and Alabama both play that up-tempo style.
As a member of the Lady Tigers, Williams has been playing center and some power forward. But this year the 6-foot-tall Williams will play more power forward or small forward when possible to get her accustomed to the position she'll probably play in Alabama.
"Here she plays the (power forward) and (center). For the past year we've moved her out to the perimeter," Holtzclaw said. "She's had a great summer transitioning to that role where she's handling the ball a little bit more. In the SEC, (power forwards) with her athleticism are very successful."
Other schools looking at Williams included Auburn, Mississippi State, Mercer, Memphis and Florida State. But in the end, it was Alabama's campus and the family feeling she felt with the players and coaching staff that won her over.
"It is exciting to know that she's going to the University of Alabama. They have a beautiful campus. There's a lot of tradition there and I'm excited for her to go to a school that plays at that level," Holtzclaw said.
One game which Williams has mixed feeling about is when they play Auburn. Not because that was one of the schools that pursued her and really wanted her, but because that's where Alcovy teammate Meagan Tucker is headed.
"We're still going to be friends, but once we get to the court it's different," Williams said. "It'll be a healthy competition."