Williams leads and impresses for Jaguars

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INDIANAPOLIS — Macee Williams hasn’t picked up where she left off.

She never stopped.

After an All-State high school career, the Fountain Central grad has taken her basketball game to IUPUI, where the junior’s list of accomplishments continue to grow.

She was Freshman of the Year, and named to the All-Horizon League second team. Last year, she was preseason Player of the Year and lived up to the billing, as she was given the award at the end of the season and named to the first all-league team.

This year she is again the preseason Player of the Year, has already been named Player of the Week three times, and she has led the Jaguars to first place after Saturday’s 80-60 win over Wright State, the team they had been tied with for the league lead.

She was okay on Saturday.

She scored 32 points, one off her career-high, grabbed seven rebounds, registered six steals, four blocked shots and two assists.

Full disclosure — she did have one turnover.

She scored the Jags first 12 points of the third quarter as they blew open a close game.

But while she may be the star of the team, she is far from playing the star role.

“All my success is team success,” Williams said. “There is so much motivation to work harder, to get better. I really don’t think I’m the best player in the league, but my teammates make me better.”

Her coach is a little more certain.

“Today, she is the best post player in college basketball in the state of Indiana,” said Austin Parkinson, 10th-year coach at IUPUI. “She has gotten better this year. She is patient in the post and takes what she gets. When she is double-teamed, she passes it out to our shooters. Her natural ability got her through her first two years, and now she has gotten more cerebral. It will be fun to see her take her game to the next level.”

The high school junior and senior who hand-wrote her answers for her two Journal Review Player of the Year stories has also been able to handle the media attention that comes along.

“Her freshman year she never came out of her room,” said roommate/teammate Sydney Roule, with a bit of a wink. “We helped teach her and now she’s more out-going. She is a great roommate always has a smile. Her laugh is the best, but she is just a great team player. She has never let the awards and the attention get in front of her team.”

“Macee has definitely changed a lot since our freshman year,” another roommate, Morgan Allen, noted. “She has come out of her shell a lot. Us four roommates do everything together now. We have built a life-long friendship. Rooming with her has been such a blessing. She does do her share of the dishes, but her room sometimes looks like a tornado passed through a day after it is super clean and neat. She and I are the centers, so we usually do drills together. We are the ‘Big Dawgs’ of the team.”

Williams is second in the Horizon League in scoring, first in rebounding and field goal shooting and fifth in free throw shooting. On Saturday, her conditioning led to her dominating third quarter.

“You have to get up and down the floor,” she said. “They’ll find you.”

Her coach noted the same.

“Her conference conditioning has allowed her minutes to grow,” Parkinson said. “She’s had to adjust since her high school days. She wants to get better — every day. She wants to be coached. We are fortunate to be able to have her here. She gets all the accolades and she earned the Player of the Year award, but all she cares about is winning.”

From Fountain Central to Division I, Williams still cares for team and family first.

“Fountain Central prepared me so well,” she said. “Coach (Chloe) Allen and (Amie) Anthrop taught me so much, and Chris Webb (her offseason coach) was the guy I could just complain to.”

Other student-athlete thoughts.

Biggest surprise? “I had no idea that I would have such a big role here.”

Hardest job? “Getting into basketball shape and strength and staying there.”

Most fun? “My team. We have no drama, and I know there is on other teams. We laugh a lot, we work hard and have fun together.”

Biggest concern? “Always balancing time. There are demands of school and basketball. There is always stuff to get done ahead of time because of travel.”

Parkinson has seen the growth on and off the court.

“She has matured,” he said. “She and the other girls are working hard to eat healthy. She and Morgan Allen are so good together inside. Macee was the big reason we recruited some outside shooters. Macee can score on anybody, but when she gets double-teamed, she passes it out.”

And halfway-plus through her third college season, it was her coach that brought up a thought that this reporter wasn’t going to ask.

“I know she can play at the pro level after college,” Parkinson said.

There is a lot of action left with her current team before that subject will need to be addressed.

Because for Macee Williams, the college junior, it isn’t all that different from the high school junior.

Team first.

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