By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
“Your mother wears Army boots.’’
Marquavius Williams heard that joke a time or two growing up in Lawton, the home of Fort Sill where his mother is serving as a drill sergeant.
He can laugh at it.
“My mom is tough enough,’’ said the Northern Oklahoma College Enid freshman point guard. “She was a good motivator.’’
It’s easy to tell Williams grew up in a military atmosphere. He’s a “yes sir, no sir’’ type of guy.
“My mother’s discipline helped me a lot,’’ he said. “Sometimes you could see the fire coming out of her, but most of the time she was just mom. It was a good combination.’’
Williams, most of all, learned motivation from growing up with a drill sergeant.
“I learned to push myself,’’ he said. “If she can do it, I can do it. She’s awesome.’’
Williams plans to try to go into business after his playing days are over with. He hasn’t completely ruled out the military.
“We’ll see how it works out,’’ Williams said. “If God takes me that way, I’ll go that way.’’
The discipline he learned at home has paid off for him at NOC Enid as he’s gone from being a combo guard at Lawton Eisenhower to a point guard with the Jets.
Coming off the bench, he’s averaging 4.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and one steal per game, while hitting 37.7 percent from the field and 68 percent from the line going into Thursday’s rivalry games at NOC Tonkawa.
He’s had 10 points in games twice this season and had nine points in a 75-64 win over Seminole Monday.
“He’s adapting to his role,’’ said Jets assistant coach Ryan Mahoney. “He’s getting used to it, and he’s doing a good job for us.’’
It hasn’t been easy for him.
“It’s been hard, but I’m starting to get in the flow better,’’ Williams said. “My teammates are helping me get better at the point guard position.’’
Williams had to change his mindset from high school. He averaged 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in leading the Eagles to the state tournament. He played with 6-foot-9 D’Andre Wright, who signed with Tulsa.
“Instead of operating for yourself, you’re looking for your teammates and running the offense,’’ Williams said. “It wasn’t easy at all for me. We had a good team last year. I did what I had to do. This year, I do what I have to do. You just play your role.’’
He said the Seminole game was one of his best complete games as far as “doing what I had to do and making the right decisions.’’
While he played at the highest level, the jump from high school to junior college still was big.
“There were a lot of good players in 6A, but here everybody is capable of shooting the ball,’’ Williams said. “You don’t have that one player who can’t play. You have to watch everybody.’’
He had to learn to play with new teammates. Coming off the bench was an easier adjustment.
“I came off the bench some in high school,’’ Williams said. “Sometimes I prefer it that way. You watch the game and you know what to do automatically. It’s just about getting into the flow.’’
The NOC Enid bench resembles a bus station, with Jets coach Greg Shamburg using as many as 10 players in his rotation to keep a fresh group of players in.
“Coach Shamburg understands what to do and when to sub,’’ Williams said. “I trust to go with his instincts.’’
Williams has seen his playing time gradually increase as the season goes along.
“I’m playing more because I have been producing,’’ he said. “I’m playing better defense, and I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I’ve been learning a lot.
“I think I have made tremendous improvement in improving my ball handling and learning how to handle pressure. I’m trying to be a leader and help lead this team.’’
He has played for two defensive-minded coaches in Bruce Harrington at Lawton Ike and Shamburg with the Jets.
“I was mediocre on defense in high school,’’ he said. “Coach Harrington stressed it a lot. I’ve been OK on defense since high school. I just have to live up to a high standard.’’
Williams and the Jets take a 17-7 overall record and 7-5 conference mark into Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference leading Mavericks (10-2, 21-3).
NOC Tonkawa hasn’t lost since falling to the Jets 69-65 in overtime at the Mabee Center Jan. 7.
“It’s going to be a big game,’’ Williams said. “Tonkawa is playing well. It’s a big rivalry. We’re working hard to get it.’’
Williams has been involved in only one NOC vs. NOC battle, but learned it’s unique. The schools are only 45 minutes apart.
“We had a good rivalry with Lawton when I was in high school, but this is a lot more intense,’’ he said. “You get used to the atmosphere. The intensity is a level up.’’
Yet, the key for the Jets will be taking it as just another game.
“It would be a big win for us, but we can’t put too much pressure on ourselves,’’ Williams said. “We have to do the extra things like coach Mahoney says to. If we do that, we will win the game.’’
Wiliams had played against Enid at the Mabee Center while at Lawton Ike. He said NOC Enid was the only school he seriously considered.
“All of the other schools didn’t matter,’’ Williams said. “They won. Coach Shamburg is a good coach. He knows how to mold good guards.’’
The NOC Enid/Tonkawa games can be heard on KCRC (1390 AM).