Branson senior Priscilla Williams made headlines back in September, when she announced her commitment to further her basketball career at Syracuse.
But she isn’t letting the future cloud what she’s doing now, although she admits it’s exciting.
“It’s very exciting,” Williams said. “It’s just seeing all of my hard work put to good use. My education is getting paid for, I’m really excited about the program and what we’re going to accomplish there.”
Williams joined the team in Branson her sophomore season. Last season, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 27.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Now, there’s only a week before her senior season begins.
She moved to Branson at the end of her freshman year from Texas.
“It was really different,” Williams said. “It was a culture shock for sure. Basketball is big here, and it’s huge down in Texas. But it’s just a different style of playing here.”
Head coach Kip Bough said he’s seen a lot of growth since Priscilla first joined the team.
“She’s matured,” Bough said. “She’s grown as a teammate and person. The skills are there, but to play the game, that’s really only half of it.”
“Being a good teammate, being responsible on and off the floor – that’s where I’ve seen the growth.”
Williams agreed with her coach. She said the move to Branson taught her a lot – like not to step out of character and to watch how she acts on and off the court.
It’s also important for her to get to know everyone on the team, especially since she’s taken on a leadership role.
“I take the majority of the shots on the court,” Williams said. “I feel like if you do that, you need to make relationships with everybody on and off the court.”
As excited as she is for the future she has at Syracuse, Williams is looking forward to her final season at Branson. Last year, the team lost to Clever 57-33 in the first round of districts. The year before, Branson lost to Fair Grove 74-39 in the first round of districts. Williams would like to see the team make it past that.
“It’s been a great three years,” Williams said. “We’re going to go out with a bang and try to go all the way of course. It’s been really fun getting to know all of these people.”
Bough said Williams has an infectious personality, the kind that draws people in.
“She’s not only 6-foot-3,” Bough said. “She’s got a personality to match.”
Williams is Bough’s fourth athlete to go on to a Division 1 school in his time as a coach. He said it’s always exciting to have a kid fulfill their dreams of going on to play at that level.
But Williams doesn’t want people to treat her differently because of her commitment to Syracuse.
“I don’t want to act like I’m Hollywood or something,” Williams said. “I’m just a basketball player, just like any other person.”
The Lady Pirates tip off their season next Monday at Seymour at 6 p.m.