Troy’s Story

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From humble beginnings, Oak Hill standout Troy Williams has become a star

By Justin Albers

Watch highlight videos of Indiana commit Troy Williams, and it’s easy to understand why so many college coaches coveted him. Few players can do some of the things he can on a basketball court.

But it wasn’t always that way. Williams wasn’t always good at basketball. He didn’t even always love the sport.

One night when Williams was a freshman at Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va., his entire family came to one of his varsity games. His aunt and uncle, and his mother and grandmother traveled to watch him play in this particular game, but Troy never got off the bench.

He played only sparingly that entire season, and admits now that he didn’t take basketball all that seriously at the time.

“We didn’t see the potential in Troy til late,” says Boo Williams, Troy’s uncle, legal guardian and AAU coach. “He was clumsy and unorthodox. Sometimes we get kids that have always been good basketball players. Troy wasn’t always a great basketball player. He hardly ever played his ninth grade year.”

A basketball family

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The Williams family is one very much dominated by basketball. Boo played collegiately at St. Joe’s and now runs his own AAU program and facility (a $14.5 million facility, at that). Troy’s aunt and Boo’s sister, Terri Williams-Fournoy, played at Penn State and now is the head women’s coach at Auburn.

“It’s a family sport,” Troy says. “Everybody played it, except for my mom. She wasn’t really into sports. She was a cheerleader.”

But even so, Boo and the rest of Troy’s family didn’t push him into basketball. They didn’t see a huge future for Troy in the sport because of his early “unorthodox nature,” and they encouraged him instead to play football.

“But he hated football,” Boo says.

Troy played football and baseball for a few years, but he didn’t like either and he did his best to convince his family those sports weren’t for him.

“Every time before practice, I used to cry because I never wanted to go,” Troy says, laughing. “I used to always complain and be like, ‘It’s too hot’ or ‘the equipment’s too heavy.’ I just never liked it.”

So Troy stopped playing both football and baseball when he was in the fourth grade and decided to focus on basketball. His decision probably made sense considering how much time he spent around the hardwood. During the summers beginning when he was eight or nine years old, Troy would travel around the country with Boo’s girls AAU team. His grandmother was also along for those trips, serving as what Boo called “the team mom” and taking care of the paperwork and stat books.

“Not a lot of people my age were traveling a lot so it was a lot of fun,” Troy says. “He used to give me stuff to do so I wouldn’t get bored and bother him. He had me carry the balls, had me carry his play board around and all that. It was just to give me something to do, but at the same time I started to meet new people and meet new girls on this team.

“He wanted me to travel with the boys team too, but my grandma was so overprotective and thinking that he wouldn’t take care of me.”

Once he began traveling with his uncle and grandmother, Troy started to show a real affinity for the sport. His mother, Patty, says Troy slept with a basketball in his bed for nearly two years as a child. When she tried to take it away from him, he showed up in her room crying at 4 a.m.

“I guess it helped him,” she jokes.

When Troy wasn’t playing on the hoop in the backyard of his mother’s house, he and his friends were setting up shopping carts to shoot at. And every time he went to a local day camp, Troy came home with a new basketball. Eventually, his grandmother’s yard was flooded with all the balls.

“I would tell him before we went to the gym, ‘Troy, don’t you pick up another basketball,’” Ms. Williams, Troy’s grandmother, says. “Somehow, eventually another one would end up at the house when he came home.”

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  • marcusgresham

    Oh, you’ve misunderstood what Jack was saying because you haven’t been around here for a while.
    He wasn’t disparaging you, Troy, or Boo at all. He was saying that in reference to the NCAA’s railroading job of the two current players on the roster who had to sit out nine games for receiving what the NCAA determined to be “impermissible benefits” even though the man providing them was a legal guardian.
    I don’t think he was making a negative comment about you or your family at all.

  • marcusgresham

    Isn’t Stanford Robinson also originally from Virginia, or is he a Maryland native (prior to going to prep school; I know he’s not there now.)

  • marcusgresham

    Has Crean ever before had a hyper-athletic wing who played defense like a fresh spider web but needed to work on his jump shot? Oh, that Oladipo kid. He turned out OK didn’t he? Shoots pretty well from what I’ve been hearing.

  • marcusgresham

    Has Crean ever before had a hyper-athletic wing who played defense like a fresh spider web but needed to work on his jump shot? Oh, that Oladipo kid. He turned out OK didn’t he? Shoots pretty well from what I’ve been hearing.

  • inLinE6

    I don’t see a problem here. Boo Williams is his legal guardian but not considered a booster for Indiana University.

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Forgot to mention – long time Hoosier fan here from Toronto. Love this site and all it provides to this Hoosier fanatic. Also enjoy the message boards and the depth of comments and understanding of the game and all things IU. Kill Purdue tomorrow!

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Great to see Troy is the product of such a sound background and upbringing. No doubt he will flourish in the Cream and Crimson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/salvatore.b.amadeo Salvatore Amadeo

    great article Justin. thank you for sharing it with us

  • http://www.facebook.com/salvatore.b.amadeo Salvatore Amadeo

    great article Justin. thank you for sharing it with us

  • unclekerfuffle

    Ms. Williams:
    Based on what I have read about your son, he should be a very good fit in B’town–high character, strong work ethic and an obvious understanding about the importance of family.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    And about that shooting …… We know how to fix that at IU !

  • sghoosier

    Beautifully written Justin! A human piece which ultimately is what life is all about.

  • HoosierPat

    Bump up that shooting percentage and Troy is going to be one tough guy to guard.

  • Colonel

    Welcome to the Hoosier family Ms. Williams.

  • repairmanjack

    Ms. Williams, Welcome aboard. Please bear with us, we can be a rough crowd some days. As to your son, he sounds like the right type of young man for us. I can only speak for myself, I like good b-ball players, but I like kids who when it is all said and done (regaurdless of how they turn out as a Basketball player), I would be proud of if they were my son.

  • repairmanjack

    Ms. Williams this was not ment to be detrimental to you or your son and I have no problem with the circumstances. My problem is just with the way the NCAA finds some of the dumbest rulings that end up hurting young men, their families and the teams/fans that support them. We had two young men this season who were hurt by one of their rulings and it was thru no fault of their own (or anyone elses for that matter, but the NCAA’s).

  • marcusgresham

    Are you a big enough IU fan that you refer to the Maple Leaf flag as being “cream and crimson”?

  • marcusgresham

    Are you a big enough IU fan that you refer to the Maple Leaf flag as being “cream and crimson”?

  • Geoff_85

    Yeah, the NCAA has not only this entire fan base on it’s toes, but every fan base on their toes. See Jay Bilas and his Twitter for more information on that. What they did to Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin was an absolute travesty. Kids and families that had no part in any wrongdoing. The NCAA is making an absolute mockery of itself and they should be ashamed for what they’ve done to these kids with their ridiculous rulings. Having said that, I am not in the least bit worried about Troy Williams. I say that not only about eligibility, but also about his ability on the court. This kid is going to continue to make his family proud! This kid fills it up on one of the best high school teams in the country. Leads in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks. How is he not a top ten recruit???

  • Geoff_85

    This was an absolutely fantastic read. Um, can you please do this for every recruit? Lol, just kidding! Kind of..

  • Geoff_85

    We would expect no less from a kid that Coach Crean thinks so highly of. These are the kinds of kids that he wants and we (as a fan base) want at Indiana University – loving family, high moral character, good choices, great in the classroom. He’s a perfect fit. I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to see him in action next year!

  • Geoff_85

    We would expect no less from a kid that Coach Crean thinks so highly of. These are the kinds of kids that he wants and we (as a fan base) want at Indiana University – loving family, high moral character, good choices, great in the classroom. He’s a perfect fit. I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to see him in action next year!

  • kennygeorge

    after reading this story 3 times, I am just so thankful for a young man like Troy to represent us. A world class person. Our future at IU is bright, but more importantly our future as a COUNTRY is brighter with young men like Troy Wiliams. God Bless his family and Troy. May you enjoy health, happiness, and a good life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/efoy.mcnaughton E Foy McNaughton

    I would just like tot hank Inside the Hall for this website. It is a great gift to all of us who follow Indiana Basketall. Stories like this one give us a unique insight into the player’s backgrounds. Thank you Inside the Hall.

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