The Point After:
Published: Mar 05, 2013 12:00 AM
Modified: Mar 05, 2013 05:36 PM
We often hear of players being a coachs dream, and theres a reason for that.
Because every level of sports has its share of head cases, knuckleheads or otherwise temperamental players who make coaches hairs turn gray.
Coaches are quick to appreciate players who work hard and dont cause issues, and are even more inclined to do so when that player can top it off by being really good.
But is there another category?
What about a coaches dream?
Someone talented, but more importantly, so gifted at the nuances and strategy of his or her game that any coach in any sport can appreciate it.
That was Ashley Williams, whose career ended Friday night with the Green Hope girls basketball teams loss in the third round.
In four years, she started every game for the Falcons, leading them to a 111-9 record overall and 77-1 against Tri-9 Conference teams while running the point.
During these four years, several head coaches from baseball, football, softball and soccer have chatted with me about Williams.
You might say she was the most talked-about athlete.
They all wanted to coach her. Or at least someone with her intangibles.
Williams is talented. She ended her career somewhere in the ballpark of 1,545 points and 700 assists (she led the state her junior year) and turned down smaller Division I offers to walk on at N.C. State.
But this isnt what the coaches see that makes them jealous of Green Hopes Mike Robinson.
They see her decision-making, craftiness and ability to recognize what the other team is doing.
For Robinson, it was like having an assistant coach on the court. Williams was unafraid to correct one of her teammates even if it was state Player of the Year Kristen Gaffney, who was a year older than Williams.
Shes just a competitor. She knows the game. Shes smarter than anybody on the court, Robinson said after the Eastern Alamance Holiday Hoopla tournament. Shes the leader, shes the quarterback, and she knows stuff before I see it a lot of times.
Green Hope was forced to change offensive styles this year when Gaffney graduated. They went from a team built on full-court presses and fast-break opportunities to one that slowed the tempo.
But the 26-3 overall record isnt much different than last years 28-3.
Teams shouldve seen it coming. When Gaffney was injured in each of the last two playoffs, Williams exploded for 23 and 30 points respectively in those games.
Ashleys the best point guard around, said Holly Springs coach Richard Young after the Hawks defeated Green Hope in the conference tournament championship.
Shes so smart, shes so crafty.
If this many coaches have such an appreciation for all things Ashley Williams, maybe coaching will be in her future.
I have no idea if well see Williams on a sideline years from now, but I do know local coaches will miss watching her play next season.
Perhaps even those who had to coach against her.
But I would understand if they didnt.
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