Updated: Jun 17, 2021
Written by former teammate
Dondre' "Donni-Oh!" Phoenix.
Keith Williams is a former Crossland (MD) High School basketball star, 1986 state champion, whose former high school teammate includes former Maryland Terps/NBA star, Walt "The Wizard" Williams.
The UMES Hawks alum, Keith Williams, has become nationally known as one of the game's premiere basketball trainers.
Working with high school, college and pro players alike, his list of clients reads like a who's who list. His list of clients have included Kevin Durant, Steve Francis, Gilbert Arenas, Jeff Green, Ty Lawson, DeMarcus Cousins, Markelle Fultz, Victor Oladipo, Delonte West, Michael Beasley, Quinn Cook and Trey Duval, amongst many others.
Watching footage from one of his workouts 11 years ago, it highlights the elbow, mid-range, balance and footwork from the training of Keith Williams. Those are staples within the Kevin Durant offensive arsenal.
When you see Kevin Durant's mid-range attack, thank Keith Williams for that!!!!
Personally, I can attest to the work that Keith Williams have passed along to so many greats. In the summer of 1989, as an incoming freshman to the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, seeing my potential, Junior guard and leading scorer, Keith Williams, immediately took me under his wing.
It was during the Kenner Summer Pro-Am League in '89 at Georgetown, where I began to earn my collegiate stripes. Not only did I share the floor with some of the best players in the game such as Grant Hill, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Dennis Scott, Sherman Douglas, Walt Williams, John Battle, Charles Smith, Curt Smith, Ledell Eackles, Greg Anthony, Tony Massenburg, Monty Williams, Jerrod Mustaf, Cedric Lewis, Steve Hood, Jaren Jackson, Sr., Mark Tillmon, Dave Edwards and more... but I held my own.
Playing at the national elite Five-Star Basketball Camp and making the All-Star Team in the summer of 1988 (heading into my senior year of high school) prepared me for this moment. I showed that I could compete against the nation's best amongst my peers, such as Allan Houston, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Sam Cassell, Jamal Faulkner, Greg Graham, Jerry Walker, George Lynch, and Ariel McDonald, amongst others.
My play during that camp and throughout my senior season (averaging 25.8 ppg, 7 apg, 2 spg) enabled me to earn a McDonald's All-American nomination, while catching the eye of a few of the nation's top basketball programs, including Syracuse, St. John's, Michigan and Boston College. However, I narrowed my list of choices down to Boston College, Rutgers, Fordham (NY) and Delaware.
After a last minute visit to UMES, during the decision making process, the family atmosphere, the HBCU experience and the selling by the coaching staff, of me helping to build the area's (Eastern Shore of Maryland) only Division I Basketball Program, sold me. So I chose UMES.
But back to the Five-Star Basketball Camp experience, it gave me the confidence to know that I could compete against the highest of competition heading into the Kenner Pro-Am League.
Fast forwarding to the Kenner Pro-Am League, to compete against those who are older, more seasoned and stronger than me, gave me even more confidence heading into my freshman season at UMES. Playing one-on-one at campus (UMES) vs Keith Williams, his guidance, teaching the nuances and intricacies of the game, and even more influential....... watching him do it up close and personal vs the best at the Kenner Summer Pro-Am League, showed what he teaches actually works, if the "work" is put in.
Keith was a two-time Black College All-American and as a freshman, he was second in freshman scoring, in the nation, only to Temple's Mark Macon.
However, Keith Williams was a relatively unknown in the Kenner League, full of stars, as was our UMES team (playing under the name "Econo Lodge"). But Keith changed that mid-way through the Kenner League as he began to torch player after player and team after team, averaging 31 ppg and leading us to a 6-4 record vs some very high caliber competition.
Not only did he put the area and nation on notice about "Keith Williams", but he helped put "UMES" on the map with anticipation for the forthcoming year. We were a small team, size wise, but we had extreme quickness and superb shooting.
Despite the great summer, unfortunately, things didn't pan out as anticipated, due to many reasons.
Keith Williams would eventually get an invite to the Indiana Pacers and New Jersey Nets' free agent camps and would later become one of the best personal trainers in the game.
Personally, I would go on to make the All-MEAC team in 1991, Top 3 in three point FG percentage in the MEAC and was named the UMES Male Athlete of the Year. All due, largely, to the mentorship of Keith Williams.
After UMES, in 1993, I went on to play in the NBA Summer Pro League with the Atlanta Hawks. In 1994, I played with the Lehigh Valley Lightning (ABA). In 1999, I played with the Long Island Surf (USBL). Again, thanks to the influence of Keith Williams.
Also, in '99, I returned to the Kenner Pro-Am League competing against the new generation (at that time). Playing against the likes of Allen Iverson, Steve Francis, Lawrence Moten and many others, I had seen things full circle. This time I was the elder statesman. Making my last hurrah, before hanging up the sneakers at the competitive level.
I would continue my entrepreneurship as a clothing store owner, as well as radio show host at Clear Channel, XM Radio and others, before launching my own two digital radio stations and media outlets, itzyourzradio.com.
KEITH WILLIAMS MEDIA FOOTAGE:
Aug. 10, 1989 "KENNER LEAGUE SHOWS THAT WILLIAMS CAN PLAY"
Sept. 26, 2020 "Markelle Fultz's Former Trainer Keith Williams"