SportsJam with Doug Doyle: Newark Academy Basketball Legend Eric S. Williams

Mar 8, 2016

Eric S. Williams was a scoring machine at Newark Academy
Credit Doug Doyle for WBGO

In 1975, Eric S. Williams became the first high school basketball player in Essex County to score 2,000 points when the 6'5" superstar played at Newark Academy.

Williams would eventually become captain of his UMASS hoop team.

"My dad was an incrediby bright guy and he really wanted me to go to an Ivy League school.  We talked alot about it.  Brown was probably after me the most.  It came down to Brown and UMass and my dad says I really want you to go to Brown, and he said listen I didn't have the same opportunities you have here, please go to Brown."

Williams eventually chose UMass.

"I have no regrets.  I probably didn't appreciate it as much as when I was there.  Looking back on it, it was a wonderful career."

Williams played for coach Jack Leaman at UMass, the same guy who coached the great Dr. Julius Erving. 

"Julius is a hero of mine and for a lot of young people.  I was in awe of Dr. J. and that I was going to play at UMass.  I had the privilege of meeting him two or three times.  The first time I met him he was playing for the Sixers, we were playing Villanova in the Palestra and he and Doug Collins came and sat on our bench and that was really cool."

Eric S. Williams was the captain of his UMass team
Credit Eric S. Williams for WBGO News

How did Williams play that night?

"I played okay, I probably played 18 minutes or so, so I got a chance to sit at the end of the bench with them.  That was probably more exciting than playing.  And if I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure he brought us sneakers to that game.  I think he was repping for Converse at the time."

Williams says his basketball career made him a better person. 

"It has given me some amazing relationships.  At the end of this journey you know I'm sure I'm going to look back and what did I value?  It's relationships.  It's given me some incredible competitive moments."

Williams says he played on some great teams at Newark Academy.

"My sophomore year.  That team was amazing.  We all, unfortunately got sick around the state tournament time, so we didn't advance past Peddie, but that was the best team I every played on."

Eric S. Williams was one of the best hoopers in NJ history
Credit Eric S. Williams for WBGO News

Williams' senior year, Newark Academy had another great run and made it the state prep finals.

When this 2016 edition of SportsJam with Doug Doyle aired on WBGO, Williams was a business consultant and works with business students at Howard University.

Williams is also the cousin of former SportsJam guest and Bloomfield College men's basketball coach Gerald Holmes.  The Williams and Holmes families are big jazz fans.  Eric talks about all those connections during this edition of SportsJam with Doug Doyle.

Click above to hear the entire interview with Eric S. Williams.