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Hawks Headliner: Williams moves into role as Hug's leader

12:00 AM, Dec. 25, 2012 EST

Hug's Sam Williams looks to get past the Galena defense during Thursday?s game at Bishop Manogue. Tom Smedes/Special to RGJ Hug Hawks Sam Williams posts up against the Galena Grizzlies during their basketball game played on Wednesday afternoon, December 13, 2012 as part of the Wild West Shootout held at Bishop Manogue High School in Reno, NV. / Tom Smedes/Special to RGJ

Hug was well represented with Sam Williams and Andrew Johnson on last season's RGJ All-North boys basketball team.

But Johnson was selected player of the year for that team as well as by the High Desert league coaches, leaving Williams to play second fiddle.

With Johnson since graduated, this year's Hug team belongs to Williams.

"He's enjoying that. Yes, he is," Hawks coach Keith Crawford said.

Williams has Hug off to a 12-4 start and looking like a team more than capable of defending it region title from a year ago. But 6-foot-7 senior who averages 21 points per game insists this isn't his team.

"It's no one's team," Williams said. "We're all in this together."

Williams may take more than double the shots of any other Hawks player, but you won't hear a complaint from Crawford. It tells the coach his best player also continues to develop as its leader.

"I'm pretty sure he'd like to shoot the ball more," said Crawford, in his first season as head coach after four seasons as an assistant. "But I tell him, 'Sam, it's not about scoring all the time.'

"In order for us to have success we're going to have to spread the ball around and do things as a team. It makes it easier on us when we're sharing the ball. ... It can't just be about points to be a leader on the court. Some night it's going to be about rebounds. Some nights it's going to be about setting screens. It's not going to be about scoring every night. It's an adjustment he's going to have to make but he's up for that challenge and our team is up for that challenge.

"I need him to complete a whole game. He takes a few plays off here and there. I want him to complete a whole game. That's the one thing I want him to work on. Don't take a play off. ... I expect leadership on the floor and he's working at it. It's not easy being a leader. It takes dedication and hard work. Sam is trying and I think by the time January hits he'll be able to fulfill that role."

To Crawford's point, Williams collected 21 rebounds along with his 22 points in last week's key league victory against also-formidable Galena.

"Sam is a big leader on this team and he has a big role on this team," said Jeremiah Williams, Sam's younger brother. "He's always led me in the right direction, never led me wrong. ... This year means a lot to him. He's trying to get to the next level and trying to get us to the next level. I want to help him get to the next level."

Sacramento State and Cal State East Bay are in constant communication with the uber-athletic Williams and Crawford.

"I have business to take care of with my grades and with this team first," Williams said. "But I want to play ball in college. I want that work out."

How he handles the next two months will go a long way toward determining his immediate future after this year.

"That's going to be the key to the season, when teams make adjustments to him," Crawford said. "How does he adjust to that? We've been telling him since the summer that's he's going to get double-teamed this year. How he makes adjustments off that is how successful we're going to be."




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