When the WVU basketball team departed for Italy this week, a big story was who was not with the team for the trip. Top freshman recruit Jabarie Hines was not on the trip due to his late arrival in Morgantown. The two Division I transfers, Aaric Murray (La Salle) and Juwan Staten (Dayton), were not eligible for trip either.
One player privileged to go along was walk-on Paul Williamson from Logan.
“I am very excited to get the chance to go to Italy,” Williamson said following Saturday’s workout at the Student Rec Center. “I’m looking forward to seeing everything and eating the food. But the most important part is being with the team and being with the coaches. I’m just happy to be going “
Williamson averaged nearly 25 points per game last year at Logan. He passed up other opportunities to play in college for the walk-on invite from the Mountaineers.
“I’ve been here all summer just working out and playing with the other new guys,” Williamson said. “I came in at the same time as the rest of the freshman. They say that you meet your best friends in college and I’ve met so many people.
“And all of these guys are great basketball players,” added Williamson. “We’ve worked out together. We’ve lifted weights together and we’ve played ball together. Everybody here can play. We’ve become really close. We are all just trying to make each other better.”
Williamson is glad he took the time this summer to get used to the campus and his new surroundings. He’s been in class as well.
“This was a big shock,” Williamson admitted. “It’s kind of a culture shock to me. Compared to back home, this place is huge.
“It’s a really nice place and I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else,” said Williamson. “We’ve got the best fans in the country and the best coach in the country. It’s an awesome atmosphere and just playing for the home state really means something. “
Williamson says he’s found a place playing along with some of the top recruits in the program’s history.
“It’s not really all about (ability) all the time,” Williamson said. “It’s just about going out and playing hard and just doing what you can do.
“You have to know what your limits are and how you can make this team better,” said Williamson. “All of these guys are super-athletic. Everybody has their niche. Me? I’m a shooter. Everybody on this team has a way they can contribute.”