Riyan Williams, the son of Georgetown Hoyas legend Reggie Williams, has been playing for Clyde's in the Kenner League the past two weekends.
I will say that the first time I heard the younger Williams name paired with Georgetown University in his debut game I was a bit perplexed myself. This sentiment was in full swing again this past weekend as fans around me who took in the action on Sunday were inquiring as to who this player was.
The Georgetown legacy is heading into his sophomore year at the university and is attempting to follow in his fathers footsteps and walk-on to the Hoyas men's basketball team. The 6-4 guard, who played at Archbishop Carroll High School in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, described what he feels are his best attributes on the floor for those that are unfamiliar with his game.
"I would say defense and shooting," replied Williams. "My dad was a good shooter when he was here and that’s what he trained me to do is shoot the ball. You’re not going to make any team, period, if you aren’t going to play defense, especially Georgetown since they are a defensive oriented team. So, I just had to work hard, play defense and everything. Those are the two skills I have worked on the most that I think I am the best at now."
Reggie Williams is a name that many Georgetown fans hold very highly for the contributions he made to the Hoyas program during his time on the Hilltop. The lore of the family name is not something that has been lost on Riyan as he tries to take the first steps necessary in order to leave behind his own legacy.
"It’s amazing," said Williams. "Just walking into the gym and being on the court shooting free throws and then seeing his jersey on the wall. It’s like; wow I am really in this gym where my father put in hard work and helped raise a national championship banner for Georgetown. It’s a great experience, just even coming to Georgetown at all behind it, it’s just great."
Riyan, who graduated from Archbishop Carroll in 2012, played for his father on the Varsity basketball team. Williams went into detail as to what that experience was like for him and what he feels he gained by playing under his father in a highly competitive league.
"It was a hard experience," replied Williams. "My dad and I bump heads on the court sometimes and then that occasionally would translate to home. So, it was kind of hard but I looked past that and worked hard to get to the point where I could potentially walk on at a great school, especially trying to follow in his footsteps."
While occasionally butting heads on, and off, the court. Williams knows that the lessons on the game of basketball that he learned from his father during those years prepared him for this moment.
"I think what he taught me there was better than anything another coach could have taught me," replied Williams. "He’s been to the highest level of basketball and knows what it takes to get there. So, I sucked it up and listened to what he said and worked hard because I knew if I did I could be in the same position as him one day."
Despite not having played competitively in quite some time Williams isn't taking this opportunity to play with, and against, some of the best college basketball has had to offer of late lightly.
"It’s been pretty good," said Williams. "I haven’t played competitive basketball since my senior year of high school so it’s fun playing against guys who are high level D1 basketball players. I’m not on any schools roster right now so it’s almost like a showcase for me. It’s an honor to be out here on the court with all these players who have been recruited to big schools like that. I just try to make my best out of every game and work hard."
The idea of attempting to walk on to Georgetown's men's basketball team is something Riyan has been considering for a good while. However, there were other areas of being a college student that those involved in this process wanted to see production out of Williams before entertaining that conversation.
"I’ve been trying to walk on for a while," replied Williams. "Coach Thompson is a great guy and he told me at the beginning of the year to just focus on my grades and that is the best advice he could have given me. Georgetown is one of the best schools in the country, so he didn’t want me to come in focused on basketball but rather to be focused on school because that is most important to me, and him.
Williams put the necessary work in during his time in the classroom so that he could receive his opportunity to try and show what he could potentially provide the program on the hardwood.
"I worked hard in the classroom and got good grades so I could put myself in a position to come to him with my transcript and say I want to walk on," replied Williams. "The process is long, it’s not over yet but out here I am just trying to score and show off my talents so hopefully he sees that and asks me to walk on."
Williams knows there is still a long way to go before this dream can become a reality. While this may be the case, he did allow himself to speak on what it would mean to him to have the opportunity to put on a Georgetown Hoyas uniform with Williams on the back for the first time like his father did many years ago.
"It would be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life" said Williams. "I look up to my dad so much, in all aspects of life, as a teacher, father, mentor and everything. So being able to put on the same jersey that he wore years ago, hypothetically, would be the greatest thing ever. It would honestly be the happiest day of my life. Even if I never played a minute for this school it would be great to put on the same jersey and rep the same school that my father helped raise a banner for."