Johlicia Williams is headed to Dodge City, Kansas. By car, it’s a 10-hour drive. By plane, it’s a four-hour trip.
Williams is going by way of a pick-up basketball game in San Antonio.
Williams attended a tournament in San Antonio a couple of months ago, when Dodge City Community College head coach Lucas McDonald and assistant coach Crystal Reed also happened to be scouting for Texas talent.
“And from there, we’ve just been in contact. Then around the beginning of May ... we did a visit,” Williams said. “I really liked it. They treated me really nice. They let me meet with a lot of professors. It felt like a home type of situation, like I felt really taken care of when I was there. ... I could feel myself being here, so I’m going to go here.”
Williams signed a national letter of intent to play for the Conquistadors for the next two years Thursday in the Killeen High gymnasium.
Williams is the third Lady Roos senior basketball player to get the chance to play at the next level, joining Jasmine Goodwine (Rice) and Esha Atkins (UT-Tyler).
“I’m very, very excited that it worked for all of them,” Killeen coach Latisha Williams said. “Coming in as freshmen, I knew, ‘OK, they have potential. They should be good to play after high school.’ And, I’m just glad that it worked out the way it needed. Terribly sad (to see them leave). I can definitely go with one more year, for sure.”
A three-year letterman, Johlicia Williams consistently improved since joining the Lady Roos varsity as a sophomore. She averaged six points, five rebounds and nearly one steal a game this season playing in the paint. She was an All-District 8-5A second-team selection, as well, in both basketball and volleyball.
“I feel like my confidence has progressed. With my teammates, also,” Williams said. “They’re really good at making you feel like, ‘You’ve got this Johlicia.’ Making you feel more confident in yourself. The sky was the limit with them.”
Williams started receiving interest before the start of volleyball in 2012, with a phone call from Barton County Community College (also in Kansas). As the seasons progressed, more and more colleges showed interest, including an email from as far away as Minnesota.
“When I got my first call, I felt all excited,” Williams said. “It was exciting, at first, but then you realize, this is serious — this is what you’re next move is going to be, so you need to take it with precaution.”
She needed just one visit to Dodge City, Kan. to see her new home would be 10 hours by car, four hours by plane, away.
“I think of it as another, smaller Killeen. I thought I’m kind of going from one home to another home. It wasn’t a big deal,” Williams said of the distance.
“It’s really not that bad by plane. It doesn’t cost that much, so I’ll probably be back and forth whenever I can.”