BARBERTON: Their skill sets in basketball and football are totally different, and so are their heights and weights.
Yet the Williams brothers from Barberton High school, senior Jerry III and sophomore Joshua, are similar in terms of attitude, confidence and effort.
And college coaches are taking notice.
“They bring different styles of the game, but on a consistent basis they both bring character,” Barberton basketball coach Ken Rector said. “Jerry is probably consistently across the board, if you talk to every teacher, the nicest kid they have ever had in a classroom. Josh isn’t far behind. They have completely different personalities, but you can see the character that they have and the way they have been raised and the attitude towards hard work. Those types of things are very similar.”
Jerry, 18, stands 6 feet, 4 inches and weighs 260 pounds. He plays center in basketball. He has college scholarship offers for football as a defensive end from Tiffin, Findlay and Ashland.
Joshua, 16, plays guard and has a scholarship offer for basketball from the University of Akron. He is 6-1 and 185, and also plays wide receiver and cornerback in football.
Jerry is averaging 7.4 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Magics, who are 8-3 this season and have had a winning record every season since the 1967-1968 season.
“Jerry has been our best post defender for three years now,” Rector said. “Two years ago, he was not a very good offensive player. He was borderline bad offensively. Last year, he moved up to OK and sometimes not very good. This year he has become one of our better offensive players, especially in the paint. That is because of his work. He is still a great post defender. When you run into him, it hurts. He is a big, strong, solid kid who knows how to play the game.”
Joshua is averaging 19 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game.
“Josh is kind of the same way offensively. Everything that Jerry can do defensively, Josh can do offensively on a different level. Josh can handle the ball, he can shoot it and he can pass the basketball. He is very multidimensional. Last year as a freshman, he was mostly a [shooting guard] for us. Now, this year he is our primary [point guard]. He handles the ball a lot and gets everyone involved. … He can score and he can be a distributor. He can get other people open looks and get them in the flow of the game, and as the game goes on it opens things up and gives him space to score.”
The brothers embrace playing key roles on the team and sharing different duties.
“It is great to play with my brother,” Jerry said with a huge smile. “We always have fun. We do stuff with the team. We are basically all brothers on this team. I am going to miss it and I know he will miss it. It is a great experience. I love it.”
Many of the moments on the court are enjoyable for Jerry and Joshua, but there are a few that lead to critiquing later.
“In the game, I try to share the ball as much as I can, but when we get home he hears it,” Joshua said with a laugh. “I will get on him for dropping one of my passes. One of my dimes [assists].”
Jerry and Joshua both credit their parents, Jerry Williams Jr. and Consuela, for helping them stay focused academically and developing as athletes. Younger siblings Jonathan, 14, and Faith, 12, are also athletic.
“Jerry and Josh are team-first guys,” Rector said.” I think they are throwback guys in a way. I was fortunate enough to play at Barberton and be a multi-sport athlete, as were other kids. What I remember then was when it was basketball season, my undivided attention was to basketball and my basketball teammates. It is always that way. I think sometimes nowadays, kids will play a second sport and not give it their all sometimes because it is not their main sport. These guys are not like that at all. That is big.”
Barberton football coach Jeff Sharkey said Jerry made 77 tackles, including seven for loss, as a senior, and was voted by his teammates as team Most Valuable Player, best offensive lineman and best defensive lineman.
Jerry said he plans to major in accounting in college, and Joshua said he wants to major in athletic training. They discuss the possibility of going to the same college someday.
“I am going to miss playing with him,” Joshua said. “It would be a lot of fun to go to college together. We will see what happens.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.