Albany Tech basketball players, from left, Shanice Williams, Ashley Towns and Toni Grier signed transfer scholarships to four-year universities on Wednesday. Towns and Williams signed with Albany State, while Grier is headed to Division I South Carolina State. (Staff Photo: Timothy Threadcraft)
ALBANY — A small crowd gathered in the Albany Tech Logistics Education Center early Wednesday morning as three Lady Titans signed to complete their careers with four-year colleges.
Sophomore guard Toni Grier, who signed with Division I South Carolina State to play point guard, played a huge role for the Lady Titans last season, leading the team with an average of 13 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.
“We send out information on our athletes towards the end of every season,” Lady Titans head coach Kenneth Williams said of Grier’s recruitment. “SCSU is one of the schools we usually send out information to. We have to get our kids exposure, because coming from a small junior college, a lot of times, bigger programs don’t have the opportunity to go out and see everybody.”
South Carolina State, located in Orangeburg, S.C., competes in the MEAC conference, the yearly winner of which earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“We pride ourselves on giving kids that opportunity,” Williams said. “It’s really demanding. We travel a lot, we practice a lot, and after all of that, they still have to get their work done. The greatest thing is, after two years, they look up and they’ve got their associates degree. That’s one of the most important things.”
Sophomore center Shanice Williams and guard Ashley Towns, Albany State signees, will bring the Lady Rams some help on the glass next season, as they averaged 5.2 and 3.8 rebounds per game, respectively. The duo cited their relationships with current Lady Rams players and head coach Robert Skinner towards their decisions.
“All three of those girls are good players but even better students,” Williams said. “That’s the most important thing to us. All three of them have already graduated, and that’s what it’s all about. Getting through here and having a successful academic career. Getting to play at a four-year school makes it even better.”
As three of his leading contributors make their way to the next level, the “loss” didn’t seem to faze Williams. In fact, he beamed like they were his own offspring.
“My wife and I always joke that we have 12 adopted daughters every season, and to be honest with you, if I had daughters, I’d love for them to be like these young ladies,” Williams said. “Great on the court, great in the community, they’ll do anything you ask them to. You can tell they’ve been raised the right way. I have nothing but good things to say about them.”