PREP SPOTLIGHT: Tjuanna Williams
By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
North Pitt guard Tjuanna Williams has worked her way from a little-used role player into the starting lineup for the 2-A state finalist Panthers. Williams chatted with Reflector prep sports beat writer Jordan Anders this week about her journey to being a starter, as well as her expectations for Saturday’s state championship game.
Q: How long have you been playing basketball?
A: Since seventh grade. I tried out and I didn’t know what I was doing. I just tried out because my best friend (teammate) Tamia (Frizzell) tried out and she told me to try out. I tried out and I made it, and ever since then I’ve just been enjoying it.
Q: Seventh grade is pretty late compared to when most kids tell me they started playing. You say you didn’t know what you were doing, so tell me about the process of finding your talent on the court.
A: It was hard, because there was a lot of leaders on the team. I played with (Nyjanique Langley) my eighth-grade year and she was a good leader. Then, with me coming in and making it my freshman year, I knew it was just going to take hard work. I made varsity that year and I learned a lot from (my teammates). They taught me a lot and they fussed at me a lot, but it helped me to get to where I am now.
Q: So what do you feel like is your biggest strength as a player?
A: I’d say hustle. If I make a turnover or something, I try my best not to give up. If the ball is going out of bounds, I’m going to run for it and try to go get it. I just hustle and make sure I do what I need to do to make sure my teammates can do what they need to do.
Q: You weren’t a starter at the beginning of this season, but you worked your way into the starting lineup early in the year. Did you have any starting experience before that?
A: Eighth grade. I started my eighth grade year.
Q: How big an adjustment is it to go from starting the game on the bench to being in the starting lineup?
A: It’s crazy. I don’t think it’s hit me yet that we’re going to states and it’s going to be me out there instead of on the bench and stuff.
Q: You’re one of only four girls on this team that were on the team that won the state title two years ago. What do you remember about that experience?
A: I think everybody kind of knew we were going to states. It was fun. It was less stress for me because I knew I wasn’t going to play, but it was still fun. I was on the team with my sister (Precia Williams) then. She was a senior, so that was a good experience.
Q: How does your approach or your mindset change looking ahead to this weekend knowing you’re going to be on the floor and expected to contribute?
A: It’s pressure, but I think I’m ready.
Q: Are you nervous at all?
A: Yeah, a little bit, but I can’t let that throw me off my game.
If you have a suggestion for a player to be featured in Prep Spotlight, contact Jordan Anders at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 and follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.