LAFAYETTE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – He identified himself on his personal Twitter account as “Just a small town boy with a desire to make it.”
Tributes on social media poured late in Monday night in memory of Herman Williams, a UL basketball signee from Florida who died earlier Monday.
The Ragin’ Cajuns basketball team acknowledged Williams’ passing on its own Twitter account Monday night, tweeting, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Williams family this evening. RIP Herman Williams. Great player, even better person.”
Panama City, Florida, television station WJHG reported on its website that Williams “collapsed and died Monday afternoon while working out on a local court in Jackson County (Florida).”
According to WJHG, “Herman was not only a standout athlete who was bound for the University of Louisiana Lafayette in August, but he was a very well liked young man in school, and all over Marianna.”
Another Panama City TV station, WMBB, reported that the 19-year-old Williams “was with a group of friends playing at the First Baptist Church lot, a spot he frequented, when he passed out,” that he “was taken to Jackson Hospital, but they were unable to revive him” and that “cause of death is not known at this time.”
UL signed Williams – a 6-foot-2, 180-pound shooting guard – last November, coming off a junior season at Marianna (Florida) High that according to multiple reports was interrupted by surgery to repair torn knee meniscus.
Williams later left for Oldmar Christian Academy in Florida, then returned to Marianna, where he was last November when he signed his NCAA National Letter of Intent with UL.
Twitter was flooded Monday night with comments from acquaintances devastated by Williams’ death.
Among them were those from:
* Williams’ Florida-based AAU program, Team Breakdown: “Beyond crushed of the news of our brother Herman Williams passing. Words cant describe how much he meant to us.”
* The Chipola (Florida) College men’s basketball program: “Chipola Nation sends their deepest condolences to the Herman Williams family. A great young man who loved the game has left us. RIP Herman.”
* HoopExchange’s Scott Golden: “I can honestly say Herman Williams is one of the best kids I have ever known”
* The “beast athletics” fitness program: “Absolutely crushed right now. R.I.P, Herman Williams. I loved this kid’s energy and zest for life. Speechless.”
* The Oldsmar Christian basketball program: “RIP to FAMILY..One of the truly great ones.. You have inspired us all one way or another. We love you always” and
* Tallahassee television station WTXL sports direction Alison Posey: “Horrible, horrible tragedy. Herman was such a good kid, great to talk to. This breaks my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with the Marianna community, and the basketball community. Herman impacted LOTS of people.”
WJHG reported that one of Williams’ former coaches, Travis Blanton, said “there’s nobody that didn’t like Herman” and that he “was a great kid in every way.”
His coach this past season, Matt Anderson, told the same Panama City station that Williams “was an incredibly hard worker, a great team leader, vocal” and that he “put the team first.”
WJHG also said Williams “could do it all, score, rebound, pass” and “was a good defender.”
Williams was part of UL’s five-man 2016 signing class, which also includes Curtiss Anderson, a transfer from Western Texas College, and incoming freshmen P.J. Hardy, Justin Miller and Roydell Brown.
According to the recruiting website 247Sports.com, Williams had several scholarship offers last year, including ones from South Florida, South Alabama and Middle Tennessee.
At the time of his commitment to UL, Williams wrote “I will be attending Louisiana Lafayette to chase my dreams” and he thanked “all the coaches that have recruited me.”