Basketball has been an influential factor in Andrew Williams’ success in life, but it took a lot of hard work for his dreams to come true. His charismatic personality has brought him popularity and recognition on the campus; nevertheless, Williams has a humble heart and puts others before himself. Williams has gone through tough stages in his life that have torn him down, but his dreams and goals have kept his spirit alive and you can see it in his composure and confidence here at UTM.
The fourth-year English major was a high school dropout from the Father Michael Goetz Secondary School. He got into the wrong crowd at an early age. Thanks to the transitional year program, a curriculum for minorities who haven’t had proper accessibility to earn a high school diploma, he managed to get into U of T St. George. As good as the opportunity was to study on that campus, he never found community. To worsen his experience at the school, by the third month of university he suffered an MCL tear in his right knee. “I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life,” says Williams. This resulted in the biggest struggle he ever had to face. “I couldn’t hoop, so I began to have severe anxiety, which led to depression.”
While studying at St. George, he found the opportunity to come to UTM Eagles basketball practice to prove to the coaches that he had the potential to join the team. Despite his injury, he managed to come to the UTM practice and in his second year, he was given the opportunity to study at this campus and play basketball for the Eagles.
This was Williams’ last shot to prove to himself and the coaches that he was capable of doing great things. The day Williams got accepted to the basketball team, he changed his mindset and way of living. He started to believe that anything is possible and that if he puts his mind to something, he can do it. As his basketball skills became better and he focused more on success, more opportunities started to come his way.
By his fourth year, he joined the UTM Athletic Council as the director of health and wellness. “I wanted to get basketball more recognized at UTM,” says Williams, when asked why he joined the council. He said he doesn’t want students to feel like they just pay their tuition, get a degree, and graduate; he wants students to be part of something bigger. He wants the campus to be a community where everybody can rely on one another. He believes that through sports, especially basketball, UTM can establish this healthy community. “Getting accepted to the Eagles basketball team was the last chance I had,” says Williams. This is what made him turn his life around, and perseverance is how he managed to have the success he has today.
“If you fail a test, it doesn’t mean you’re a loser. You can’t be worried about failure,” says Williams. Basketball is what gave him the opportunity to succeed, and he wants every UTM student to know that when they get a challenge in their lives, that they should face it and believe in himself or herself.
Williams believes that the UTM Eagles basketball team chemistry is developing to soaring heights—everyone is growing into a contributing factor. The Eagles have made it to the finals, preparing for their tilt against UTSC this Wednesday.
“I admire my team’s work ethic and their endurance despite this season being a roller coaster,” says Williams, the relied-upon Eagles point guard.
Williams wants to see UTM basketball join the Ontario College Athletic Association—playing the best colleges in Ontario to hopefully win a championship. He recommends all students who want to succeed in basketball to not stay stagnant. Students who keep moving and accept new challenges will go far. “You have to be goal-oriented and love what you do to thrive,” says Williams.
In 10 years, he sees himself teaching at his former school, and his goal is to coach the youth basketball team. “I am very self-driven, and I don’t like underachievement,” he says. He is confident that his past challenges will help future Father Michael Goetz Secondary School students head in the right direction.