BY Evan Devould
The stage was set Thursday evening for the Lady Tigers to make a huge splash on the recruiting trail. Lanyce and Lanetta Williams were set to make the announcement on where they will take their talents to on the collegiate level next season. The twins chose between University of Memphis, University of Georgia, and University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). At approximately 3:06 pm the Lady Tigers coaching staff got exactly what they had hoped for. They landed two of the highest recruits in the Melissa McFerrin era. Lanetta Williams who is a 4- star prospect, ranked #36 nationally by ESPN. Lanyce William’s is also 4- star prospect by ESPN. The twins are daughters of former DePaul University standout Lance Williams. They decided to stay at home and help bring success to the Lady Tigers program.
How Did Memphis convince these two star athletes to stay at home? That started a long time ago. In my interview with the two sisters, they informed me that the Lady tigers had been recruiting them since the 8th grade. The University of Memphis was the first school to ever send them a letter. The two star athletes stated that when narrowing down their final three college choices, they looked at schools that wanted to make a difference. “We didn’t want to go to a school and just be another recruit, we wanted to go somewhere where we could go in and make an immediate impact”. When asked, “Do you feel any pressure to stay at home and helping revive the Lady Tigers program?” The twins replied, “Kind of, but it isn’t anything we can’t handle.” The twins stated, “We would go around school and people would recruit us to go to Memphis by saying things like: “stay home and you won’t have to worry about picking up and moving”.
What are the Lady Tigers getting out of these two prospects? I proposed this question to both student athletes and I loved each response. Lanyce stated she’s a player that will give 100 percent every play. She will bring a defensive presence and a lot of rebounding. She also stated she’s become really solid with the 15 foot jump shot. Lanetta stated she’s a hard worker, shot blocker, and can score in multiple ways. I expect the twins to make an immediate impact at Memphis next year not only due to talent but chemistry on the court together as well. When asked: Was playing college basketball at different colleges ever a choice? Both sisters replied, “No playing together is too much fun, it’s like playing next to your best friend.”
What’s next for the Lady Tigers? It is probably safe to say the Lady Tigers coaching staff will try to continue to hit the recruiting trail hard considering the success they are having with the 2019 class. Even before landing the two nationally ranked sisters, the tigers already landed a commitment from another high profile local talent, Houston High star guard Madison Griggs. Madison is a 3- star rated recruit by ESPN, and can flat out shoot the basketball. Ironically, Griggs and the Williams’ sisters already played together in middle school at Cordova. The trio won the middle school state title and was coached by former Tiger sharp shooter Rodney Newsom. In my interview with Coach Rodney Newsom I asked, “What is University of Memphis getting out of the local commitments?” He stated, “All three can come in and produce right away on the college level. In Lanetta Williams, she is 6-3, can play the wing and guard any position on the floor. She has AAC player of the year potential. In Lanyce Williams, at 6’1, you have a smart and athletic defender and can knock down the mid range jumper with ease. Lastly in Madison Griggs, you have arguably the best shooter in the city that can also play both guard positions.” This is a great way to start off the 2018 class. Definitely exciting times coming for the Lady Tigers basketball program.