By Jerry Del Priore
Brooklyn College senior forward Lorenzo Williams didn’t take the usual route to basketball happiness.
A self-proclaimed street baller, Lorenzo tried out for South Shore High School’s basketball team in Canarsie in his senior year in 2007 at the request of head coach Mike Beckles. He made the cut, and played well.
Since he said “organized basketball wasn’t my thing at first,” Williams didn’t begin his college playing career until 2010.
Nevertheless, he starred at Kingsborough Community College, where the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) named him to the community college first-team All-Star squad and a Region XV All-Star after averaging 17.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
Williams played a season there, and then transferred to National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Francis Marion University in South Carolina, where he played a half campaign in unfavorable conditions, only starting the first game of the year.
“It was just a bad situation,” the 6’ 4” Canarsie resident, who drained 14 points in the Bulldogs’ 72-62 victory over York College in the CUNYAC quarterfinal Championships, said. “I didn’t like the situation, so (I left).”
Williams sat out two years to regroup before attending Brooklyn College, where he joined the basketball squad. There, he averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 boards per tilt—second on the team in both categories for the 2014-15 campaign.
Seeing Williams’ value to the team, head coach Rich Micallef extolled the work ethic and playing abilities of his versatile player who’s garnered an interesting nickname because of upper twenties age, which he didn’t disclose.
“Outside or inside, ‘Pops’ can do it all,” Micallef wrote on BrooklynCollegeathletics.com. “His ability to get to the basket and shoot the three makes him a tough player to stop. Continually working on perfecting his craft, Lorenzo spends countless hours in the gym.”
This year, the Brownsville native has picked up his scoring output, draining 18.8 points per contest while grabbing 5.5 rebounds per game.
It’s been a match made in heaven with the Bulldogs for Williams, who received his second straight CUNYAC All-Star nod this season while earning a solid education.
“This is a perfect spot for me,” the physical education major, who would like to teach middle school children and coach in the future, said. “I feel at home.”
While Williams is thriving on the hardwood at Brooklyn College, it’s his never-ending passion for the sport that keeps him going.
“I love this game. That’s why I play,” Williams explained. “It’s not making me any money. So, what else is it doing? It’s just love. That’s why I’m here.”
The only thing Williams loves more than the game is winning. It’s fair to say he has a strong aversion to losing. And he’s hungry for the Bulldogs to take a championship bite out of the CUNYAC basketball trophy, especially after losing to Baruch College in the 2015 finals.
“That’s my whole purpose,” he said of the possibility of capping his playing career with a Brooklyn College hoops title under his belt. “If I don’t win, I’ll feel like a failure.”
A victory, however, will surely erase any hardwood heartache, and end his memorable basketball journey with the Bulldogs on a happy note.
No. 3 Brooklyn College defeated second-seeded College of Staten Island, 78-69, at City College of New York in the semifinals Tuesday night.
Williams led all scores with 23 points, and added 11 rebounds in a spectacular effort versus the Dolphins.
The Bulldogs will now face No. 5 Baruch College on Friday at 8:30 p.m., also at CCNY, in a rematch of the 2015 CUNYAC final.
Winner of Friday’s game will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.