To put in perspective the kind of impact Williams had on any given night, one need not look any further than the school record books as the senior finished in the top 10 for points in a single season, career points, career rebounds, career steals and career assists.
Coby Williams is surely going to be missed at Versailles.
When the senior walked off the court for the final time after an opening round loss to Fatima in district play on February 25, it marked the end of a career that proved to be one of the best the school has ever seen. To put in perspective the kind of impact Williams had on any given night, one need not look any further than the school record books as the senior finished in the top 10 for points in a single season, career points, career rebounds, career steals and career assists.
“One of the things that comes to mind with him is something I said about him as a junior and it continues even through his senior year- the kid never cheated himself,” Versailles coach Jason Ollison said. “Every day in practice he brought his best effort. Mentally and physically he demanded the best of his teammates, but he gave them his best every night.
“It did not matter whether it was a shoot-around or a practice before a district championship game, he was always at the top of his game. That is just the kind of kid and competitor he was.”
As a junior, Williams was already sixth in program history for points in a single season after finishing with 793 a year ago. As a senior, he bested that mark with 803 points to finish fifth in program history trailing only Bill Laurie (936 in 1970), Barry Laurie twice with 900 and 896 between 1976 and 1978 and Bud Heineman’s 866 in 1947.
Those marks helped Williams finish as the second best scorer in school history with 2,524 career points, only trailing Barry Laurie’s total of 2,980 from 1975 to 1978. Bill and Barry also hold the top 12 spots for points in a single game and Williams tied Barry for 12th on the list with the 43 points he scored this year in the season opener against Eugene. Bill once scored 56 in a game for the record in the 1969-70 season.
The senior scored consistently and scored often, but still had plenty of time to dish out assists. Williams finished with 440 in his career, trailing only Trey Woods who finished his career with 457 in 2015. Williams also finished with the most steals in program history with 303 to his name, 54 more than any other player, and secured 505 career rebounds which is the eighth most of any Tiger to play the game.
For his efforts, Williams became the 19th player in program history to earn All-State honors last season and could very well attain that honor again as a senior after averaging 30.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.5 steals per game this year.
“Having Coach Ollison there, he is a pretty good coach. He let me become a better team player in a way,” Williams said, looking back on his career. “Told me my role and I stuck with it whether it was doing this, this game, or doing that, that game. I just did whatever coach told me to do and it was just a fun overall career. I enjoyed it.”
For Williams and other players, the numbers each Laurie put up was virtually on another planet. Joining that dynamic scoring duo among the best to ever put the ball through the hoop is not something he takes lightly.
“No one ever thought they were going to catch them so it felt pretty special actually being able to catch them and saying I’m part of that elite scoring group,” the senior noted.
“It was just going out and playing basketball and letting the game come to me. If they double-teamed me I just passed the ball off to my teammates. I just played the defense and whatever they did, I did.”
Ollison commended that kind of selfless attitude and even with all those points the senior scored over the course of his career, the team’s Senior Night this year is one of the games that sticks out the most for the coach. That is when Williams could have potentially passed Bill Laurie for second on the all-time scoring list and he opted to dish out nine assists, nearly reaching a double-double on a night where he scored 18 points.
“If he breaks the school record for points in a single game he also passes Bill Laurie for all-time. He passes up four open shots in the first quarter so he can pass to his senior teammates,” the coach recalled. “When I ask him why he is doing that he says it is Senior Night and they need to score, too. That is the kind of kid he is. There are just not many like him and it is a pleasure to coach a kid like that.”
Now that this highly productive chapter has ended for Williams, one that also included a pair of district championships and a run to the state quarterfinals, he implores the Tigers who follow him to simply put in the work if they want to be successful.
“Got to come in during the summer and work during the offseason,” he said. “The rest of the conference is doing that as well and if we want to place top in the conference like we wanted to this year, you are going to have to come in night in and night out during the summer and get working.”