When Jaelin Williams was in the seventh grade, he was in the Shawnee gym trying to learn a drill.
“Learn to do it right, or go sit down,” Braves head coach Chris McGuire said to him.
So Williams sat down. His brother Justin Williams was a senior and witnessed the first interaction between the coach and his future star.
“I knew he was in hot water immediately,” Justin said. “I was at a loss for words.”
Jaelin is the one who usually has only a few words for any occasion, but he grew from that timid kid who didn’t even come up to his 6-foot brother’s shoulder into a 6-foot-5 star for the Braves. His stellar senior season culminated Monday night at Wittenberg University with the Dan Hoyt Mr. Basketball Award as the best player in Clark County for the 2012-13 season.
“He was a kid that was all about winning,” McGuire said. “He was able to get the numbers, but he was able to do it in the confines of the system and the team winning. That takes a lot of maturity.”
Team and individual success both came to Jaelin this season. He led Shawnee to a 23-3 record, a second straight Central Buckeye Conference championship and the district tournament at UD Arena. He was named the CBC player of the year for the second time after leading the league with a 20.2 scoring average while shooting 54.6 percent against defenses designed to stop him. He was second in the league in rebounds at 8.4 and fourth in assists at 4.2.
“It’s a great honor because there are a lot of great players in here,” Jaelin said after the All-Clark County team was announced. “I know we’re all deserving, but it’s great to be acknowledged as one of the better ones here.”
And it’s great to win the same trophy that big brother Justin won in 2009.
“I’ve got bragging rights now,” Jaelin said. “He had it first, but we’re on a level playing field now.”
It’s been a while since the brothers have taken their good-natured rivalry to the court.
“He really knows he doesn’t have a chance,” Justin said. “When it comes down to it he’s still little brother. He’s not physical enough — take him all day — mop the floor with him.”
“Whenever he’s ready,” Jaelin said, “I’m always ready for it.”
Justin isn’t so sure.
“He doesn’t play too serious when we go one-on-one,” Justin said. “I think it’s because he knows I’ll win. No, I’m really proud of him, I really am.”
Justin was able to see most of Jaelin’s games, and he admits that Jaelin is a far better shooter.
“Last year he was a little tentative to shoot,” Justin said. “He shot a lot more this year, and honestly that’s what Shawnee needed.”