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Williams Earns Second Chance with Archers

November 14, 2014

Dajae Williams  
Dajae Williams

Former Kirkwood High School basketball player Dajae Williams was heavily recruited by teams her senior year. St. Louis Community College head coach Shelly Ethridge was one of many who sought to sign Williams to a letter of intent.

Ultimately, Williams decided to attend the Missouri University of Science & Technology (MST) in Rolla, Mo. When Williams made the decision, she believed it was more suitable going forward. However, things did not go as planned. Williams didn’t get as much playing time as she had hoped. She averaged only 4.6 minutes per game for the season.

Williams remained optimistic about the following season, but another obstacle presented itself.  She suffered a knee injury that sidelined her only five games into the 2013-14 season.

While on the sidelines, Williams reflected and pondered her future. She grew increasingly discouraged and homesick. Ultimately, she decided to quit the team.

Ethridge periodically contacted Williams during her brief time at MSST. Williams was seeking a change, and Ethridge presented a chance of returning home to play for the Archers.

“(Coach Ethridge) stands for what she believes. When she wants something, she’s going to get it,” Williams said. “That’s what stood out most about her.  She was right there to pick me up where I left off.”

Ethridge’s persistence paid off for both the Archers and for Williams, who opted to return home to continue her basketball career.

“When we go through the long recruiting process, you establish relationships with the student-athlete,” Ethridge said. “We keep in touch because we care about the kids that we recruit.”

A healthy Williams is off to a strong start this season for the Archers. She’s started all six games the Archers have played, and is averaging 7.7 points per game with five assists per game. She brings toughness to the court, and is a quick decision maker.

Williams hopes to help guide the Archers to the Region XVI Tournament title, which would be their third in the last four seasons. Williams, an engineering major, hopes to earn a scholarship and play for a Division I school.

“I learned to persevere,” Williams said. “My situation wasn’t the greatest, and I learned with patience and time, you can reach your goal.”