Williams sets pace for River Hawks
Akeem Williams has set lofty goals this season: Put together an All-American season while leading the University of Massachusetts Lowell men’s basketball team to the NCAA Division 2 tournament.
The former Avon High star is off to an impressive start. The 5-foot-11 junior guard not only paces the River Hawks (6-2 overall, 4-2 Northeast-10) in scoring (18.8 points per game), he is tied with Chad Holley for the team lead in assists with 34.
“Obviously, Akeem is a prolific scorer, and we just want to see him take the next step and take care of the ball better and become more of a complete player,” said UMass Lowell coach Greg Herenda.
“Since he’s been on our campus he has thrived in just about every facet of the game. He has the chance to be an All-America candidate. He has that kind of potential.”
Last season Williams led the NE-10 Conference in scoring (17.7 points a game), earning a spot on the all-conference second team. Although he surpassed the 1,000-point career scoring mark in just two seasons, Williams also led the team in turnovers (111), something he has vowed to improve upon this season.
“Personally, I’ve set a goal for myself to be an All-American,” said Williams, a Brockton native who played three seasons at Avon High and two at the Winchendon School. “I want to come out and play as hard as I can in every game, do what I can to make every possession count, and just win games.”
Herenda knew that he was recruiting a scorer: Williams rang up 1,700-plus points in three seasons at Avon, setting the program’s single-game mark with 56. But when Herenda made a visit to Winchendon, he came away just as impressed with Williams’s ability to pass the ball.
“If you’re open, he’s going to hit you with the ball,” said Herenda. “Akeem is a scorer first and he looks at that rim quickly, but he has the ability to make really good passes. We’ve got good players around him and if [6-6 senior forward] Matt Welch gets open or somebody else is going to the rim, Akeem will find them.”
With the arrival of Holley, a sophomore transfer from Mount St. Mary’s University, Williams is seeing more time at shooting guard. Herenda thinks the move will allow Williams to become an even more explosive scorer: In last week’s 91-88 win over Saint Anselm, he poured in a season-high 31 points. Second on the team in 3-pointers, he converted five of his six 3-point attempts. He set his career high of 35 points in a season-opening victory over Bridgeport last year.
This season, Williams is shooting 41 percent from the field (53 of 129), and 42 percent from beyond the arc (20 of 47). He is third on the team in rebounding (3.9 per game) and has 11 steals but a team-leading 24 turnovers in eight games. His rebounding and assist totals are both up slightly from last season.
“I love playing point guard, but I think because scoring comes so easily to me that Coach has me at the two spot,” said Williams. “Scoring is my biggest asset; if I’m open, I’m going to make the shot.”
Williams vows to take as much pride in his defense as he does from scoring.
“This year my whole outlook on the game has changed,” he said. “I just want to play every possession to my fullest and not take any possessions off. . . . I know for a fact I’m playing better defense because I’m not letting the guys I’m guarding have a big night.”
Perdios returns to Curry dugout
Dave Perdios has returned as baseball coach at Curry College. The director of parks and recreation for the town of Milton, Perdios compiled a 236-162-4 record in 12 seasons at Curry before stepping down after the 2010 season. Perdios led the Colonels to four regular-season Commonwealth Coast Conference titles and their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division 3 Tournament in 2007.
“Dave's goals – conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances – are second only to his desire to guide our student-athletes to do well in the classroom, in the community, and in life,” said Curry athletic director Vinnie Eruzione.
Duncan earns spot on regional team
Dedham’s Sarah Duncan, a junior defender for the Trinity College women’s field hockey team, has been named a National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-New England West Region second team selection.
Duncan started 14 games for the Bantams and scored five goals, tying teammate Hadley Duncan (no relation) with a team-high three game-winners. She added seven assists.
Sarah Duncan, who also plays ice hockey for the Bantams, was also named to the all-New England Small College Athletic Conference second team. She was the conference’s rookie of the year in 2010.
Tennis trio to play in Weymouth
James Cerretani , a men’s singles’ quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2011, will lead a trio of world-class players who will appear at a fund-raising clinic at the Weymouth Club on Sunday. Cerretani, of Reading, will be joined by Canadian Adil Shamasdin, and by doubles specialist Ashley Fisher, who was ranked 19th in the world in 2009. The trio will conduct clinics and play in an exhibition match, with the proceeds benefiting the South Shore Initiative, a program for training young players. For more details, call 617-827-5191.
John R. Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.