Keshawn Williams leads NIU as MAC game to start – Shaw Local | Jobs Vox


DeKALB – Three Albany defenders closed in on Keshawn Williams, knowing the NIU defender was likely going to break into the bucket.

It didn’t matter. He took three defenders and scored. But Tuesday’s game at the Invitational Center ended in an 83-78 loss for the Huskies, their ninth of the year, despite 23 points and five assists from Williams, a junior in his second year with the program.

“We haven’t really won a lot of games, but I can see the game slowing down for me,” Williams said. One thing, like a coach [Rashon Burno] That said, I struggle to be a leader. I feel that I lead by example. But I need to be a more vocal leader and that’s something I need to work on.”

The Huskies (4-9) close out the nonconference slate Thursday at Indiana State. Williams scored a career-high 32 points to help the Huskies stun 17-point favorite Sycamores (9-3), 67-57. He also had a game-best nine rebounds.

Williams graduated from Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, then spent a year in Tulsa before transferring when he committed to the Bournemouth program in March 2021. He averaged 16.3 points per game last season and is close to 18.5 this season.

When conference play begins Jan. 3 in Akron, Williams said he’s confident the Huskies, who were picked to finish last in the MAC, can turn a lot of leaders around despite their record. The junior thinks NIU’s showing before the break — even in the Albany loss — shows the team is turning a corner.

“I’m not worried about the MAC game at all,” Williams said. “The one thing I can say about this team is, down by 20, down by 20, we’re going to compete. Even [against Albany] We could have broken and broken, but we stuck to the plan and continued to compete. That’s one thing I can say about this team. We will work hard and we are going to compete.”

Northern Illinois Huskies guard Keshawn Williams drives to the basket during the game against Albany on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, at NIU's Convocation Center in DeKalb.

Bourneau also said he thinks the Huskies can surprise some people in conference play this year. And he said it starts with Williams.

“If Keshaun Williams plays and leads the way we need him to, we’re going to be a real dangerous team,” Bourneau said. “It’s not just Keshawn, it’s other players as well. But it starts with him.”

Bourneau said all elements of Williams’ game are developing well, and he has good grades and other intangibles. Now, he wants to see Williams be a more vocal leader during practice.

“There is a level of respect for the alpha male,” Bourneau said. “The herd follows the headless lion. He is the head of the snake. He needs to do a better job of making sure the boys understand that every day counts. You can’t get back the days on and off the court.”

According to Williams, the season so far has been a learning process. David Coit, who led the Huskies in scoring against Albany and is averaging nearly 14 points per game, transferred from Atlantic Cape Community College. Zarick Nutter is also scoring in double figures after transferring from Clarendon College. There are also four international players in the application.

“We just have to find ways to win,” Williams said. “The boys are still learning. We have many new faces. We have (international players). We have guys like David, Zarik coming from JUCO who are still learning the system. We all teach each other how to play. I feel like MAC is playing, we all have to come back with the right mindset and I think we’ll be fine.


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