Jan. 8, 2006
By: Meghann Reilly, Sports Information Office Intern
It’s close to the end of preseason practice and you are preparing to take the last few shots from the free throw line. You make all the shots and think that is a great sign of the impending year. Then after you are done gathering all of your things from the locker room, you glance around the room in a 360 degree fashion and imagine just how everything will be before each game. You will also be anticipating the many experiences you will have with your teammates. This scenario was somewhat different for Shante Williams last season since she sat out the entire 2004-05 season as a medical redshirt because she was pregnant with her son, George.
Williams is a sophomore, athletic-wise, but a junior as academics are concerned. She played high school basketball at Jacksonville Ribault High School and was ecstatic about coming to Florida State. Since the day she signed a letter of intent to play at Florida State, she laid out many plans and goals for herself. Her plans were to do well academically so she could attain a criminology degree. Her goals for basketball were to be part of a team and assist in situations when needed.
“My plan for coming to Florida State was to get my degree and showcase my various talents,” Williams said. “I also wanted to play well to show the world that Florida State produces good athletes in something other than football since Florida is well-known as a football state.”
At the end of her rookie season, Williams received so many accolade that she probably met and even passed some of her own expectations. The achievements began with starting 27 games and playing in all 30 games while averaging 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, both second on the team, and a team-high 5.1 assists per game. She also received honorable mention for the All Atlantic Coast Conference and was named to the five-member Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team. In addition, she was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Week three times during the season. It was clear Williams was in the right place and was bound for success.
“One of my favorite things about this program is that everybody involved has created a family-like atmosphere with me considering my teammates as my sisters and I think of my coaches as my parents,” Williams said. “My teammates and I are so tight knit and care for each other. For example, when somebody gets hurt, we rally around her with anything to cheer her up.”
During the 2005 NCAA Tournament, Williams was at home in Jacksonville recovering from giving birth to her son George. She watched every game that she was able to and especially watched FSU’s game against the University of Connecticut. She was unable to move around a lot, since she was still sore, even though she wanted to jump up and down many times. So instead, she just sat and hoped for the best with her talking to the television. She kept telling herself that she was with them in spirit. She knew all that her teammates had overcome in a season of adversity and she was very proud of them.
“All the tragedies that happened during the off-season helped build our team’s character and made them stronger which allowed them to go out there and fight as hard as they did last season,” Williams said. “At the same time, I feel like if I would have been playing, I could have given them an extra boost on the court or something else.”
As a result of having a major change in her personal life, Williams has become a better student.
“I think I have become a better student-athlete since I have matured a lot more and time management is the biggest thing with you making a schedule and sticking to it,” Williams said. “This is a major thing for me, making sure I am doing everything that I am supposed to be doing to achieve a balance between school life and my personal life.”
If she could give incoming students one piece of advice, it would be to just learn how to manage their time and everything will fall into place. She also thinks that it is an honor just to be a part of the team and putting on that jersey everyday with a lot of people wanting to be in her shoes. She thinks of it as an opportunity that people should not take lightly.
Something else she doesn’t take lightly are the experiences she has had over the past couple of years, especially the birth of her son.
“I love my son and would not change anything,” she said with a smile.