By Essence Money
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – De’Andre Williams, 18, of West Philadelphia, brings a positive outlook to his work on and off the basketball court at Camden County College.
When he attended Northeast High School, Williams was not able to show his talents until his senior year. “Freshman, sophomore and junior year I didn’t make the basketball team because of my height. It wasn’t until my senior year, when the school switched coaches, did I get my chance,” Williams said. “The new coach, Iran Stern, saw something in me.”
Once Williams was given the opportunity to prove himself, he rose to the occasion. He averaged 21 points per game. He made 1st All Public League Team of Philadelphia in March 2013. Following that he was voted 3rd MVP in Philadelphia. Although he doesn’t have a dream of going to the NBA, he does want to go to a Division I college.
“Camden County (College) wasn’t just an option, it was the only option. I had to get out of Philly. I didn’t want to be a part of the constant drama that took place. I wanted better for myself,” Williams said.
Williams credits his mother for keeping him motivated and his uncle for guiding him to play basketball. “I talk to my mother every day, she reminds me to keep focused. She tells me ‘you have to get what you want.’ My uncle stepped in as a father figure and taught me how to be a man,” he explained.
As to how he balances being a student and being a basketball player, Williams said, “It’s not that difficult right now. However, future semesters might be and I’ll be ready to handle it. It’s all about staying positive.”
As he prepared for the game Thursday night versus Cumberland County College, Williams reflected on how much improvement the team is making. “Everyone came from high school as the star players. We all had our own ways of playing. It wasn’t until we started losing in the preseason, 1-4, that we learned we have to play the coach’s way, not our way,” stated Williams. “I believe the team is starting to play better now that we know better.”
Darren Miller, 20, can attest to Williams’ influence. “De’Andre is definitely a cool person to have around. He inspires me to work harder,” explained Miller. “When it’s time to play for games, he tells me to ‘play every minute like it’s (my) last.’ ”