Three-Sport Star at Pinecrest Signs with Florida School
Three sports star Janea Williams of Pinecrest has verbally committed to play basketball at the University of North Florida.
The 6-foot-3 rising senior accepted a scholarship offer by phone Wednesday evening to begin playing for the Division I Ospreys in the 2013-14 season. The school, located in Jacksonville, is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference that includes among its members Stetson, USC Upstate, Lipscomb, Belmont and East Tennessee State.
Williams also received offers from UNC-Charlotte and Elon, as well as interest from a number of other schools.
“When Janea first walked in the gym, my first thought was that after four years, she’ll be Division I in whatever sport she chooses,” Patriot volleyball coach Barbara Foxx said before practice on Thursday. “She’ll have choices in volleyball, basketball and track. That makes it good for any individual to decide which one you want to do.”
Williams is the daughter of Russell and Lisa Williams. Her twin brother, Benjamin, plays basketball for the Patriot boys. She came back from shoulder surgery to earn first team All-Southeastern Conference honors for the second time last season after averaging 11.8 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots per game.
She missed the 2011 volleyball season because of the surgery, but earned all-conference honors as a sophomore. Last spring she won the high jump at the conference track and field meet and also placed in the discus and shot put.
The early decision about the future takes some of the pressure off what promises to be a busy senior year. Williams is a scholar-athlete at Pinecrest (3.5 or better GPA). She plans to major in criminology at North Florida and would like to play basketball overseas after graduation.
“I loved the whole staff and the campus and the players were very friendly,” she said, referring to a visit to the college in June. “They were Division I, had my major and everything I wanted to do. I felt like I would fit in.”
The summer schedule for Williams, who can dunk a basketball, has included attendance at a University of South Carolina basketball camp and playing over 20 games in AAU tournaments for the Carolina Force located in Fayetteville.
“I worked on being quicker, boxing out, my defense and posting up,” she said. “I have a lot to work on before I go to college.”
Janie Hodges is the new girls’ basketball coach at Pinecrest, succeeding Mike Loutzenheiser, who coached Williams the previous two years. Foxx is probably the coach at Pinecrest who knows her the best.
“Janea has great charisma, a good attitude and she’s respectful and honest,” Foxx said. “She has all the things you look for in an athlete to play on your team. She’s just a good person.”
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