Eric Williams has come a long way in the past two years.
The New Haven High School senior has grown several inches taller, has become the leader of his team and now can say he is a college basketball player.
Williams recently announced his decision to sign with Division II Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, after considering several schools.
"Seeing his growth over the last two years has been amazing," New Haven coach Tedaro France said. "I take my hat off to him. He's a great kid and a hard worker. He's a very coachable kid. He listens. He wants to learn and get better.
"He has been coming in before school for the last two years. I never get complaints about him in the classroom. I feel so happy and proud for kids like that that worked so hard for a chance to do what they love at the next level for free. A lot of people dream of the chance. Only so many get it."
Williams is averaging 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.6 steals for the Rockets this season.
"It feels good that all the hard work paid off," Williams said. "What the program had for me academically is what intrigued me. I like their campus and when I visited I was comfortable. I considered a few other schools but they were the best for me."
Williams said he remains motivated to improve and to help the Rockets accomplish their goals.
"I need to continue to work on my defense," said Williams, who stands 6-foot-5. "Coach prepares us to play in college with the practices and film sessions that not many teams have."
New Haven (12-1, 8-0) has already clinched the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division. The Rockets hope to continue their improvement behind Williams' leadership when they return to host East Detroit on Friday.
"It's a testimony to God and all of their hard work," France said. "Eric has always been skilled but he has worked and his shot has improved. He had guard skills but now he's 6-foot-5 with size 15 shoes and big hands and he's still growing."
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.