CJ Williams Final
2020-2021 HBCU Hoops

Howard’s CJ Williams finishes career for school, MEAC record books

CJ Williams leaves Howard as the MEAC’s all-time leading scorer. But his legacy was cemented by his loyalty to the school.

Williams and Cole: What might have been

The next year Williams got a new running mate in RJ Cole. Despite the offense running largely through Cole, Williams thrived as a sophomore as his scoring, shooting, and 3-point shooting all improved.

When he wasn’t putting up buckets on the court or studying, he was checking in on his mother, Michelle Watts, as she battled cancer.

His numbers took a slight dip as a junior, but he played fewer minutes and the team was a legit MEAC title contender, making it to the conference semifinals for the first time in more than 20 years in 2019.

Despite the team’s improvement, Kevin Nickelberry, the man who brought Williams and Cole to DC, was not retained by Howard following the season. And then Cole decided to transfer to UConn. And just like that, half of one of the most prolific basketball courts in college basketball was gone.

Williams had options too. He could declare for the NBA Draft— as he did — or transfer to a PWI as many MEAC basketball stars have. Instead, a love for Howard and a belief in Blakeney brought him back for a final year at HU.

CJ Williams

Completing The Legacy

“Staying at Howard University was an easy decision. I feel proud that I’m able to leave Howard University as the all-time leading scorer in the MEAC,” Williams said Wednesday night. “Unfortunately we didn’t do what we came here to do, but I know going forward that everything is in good hands.”

Though Williams continued to produce as a senior, averaging 18.5 ppg, the team never quite found its rhythm. But Blakeney made sure to make it known that he appreciated what his senior leader has meant to the program.

“Even though he’s not going to be with us,” Blakeney said pointing at Williams. “I want him to be with us as much as he can, and to be a part of our program.”

“The type of student-athlete that he’s been for four years at Howard is nothing short of remarkable and nothing short about the type of character his mom, and dad and his support system.”

Williams struggled to maintain his composure as the finality of his college career coming to a close set in.

“I’m thankful for everything that they’ve done for me,” he said. “I just know that they have my back going forward.”

A year after he could have left for supposedly greener pastures, Williams leaves HU with the school and conference’s all-time leading scorer title behind his name.

“It feels good to be able to leave that kind of legacy at Howard University. Like we talked about before, I knew that I really didn’t want to go anywhere else, I felt at home at Howard.” 

No matter how this season ended, Williams will always have a home at Howard thanks to his loyalty. In a day and age where players re-classify to get “better” offers and players graduate early to find a higher-profile program to up their draft stock, Williams is an exception to the rule and should be remembered for that as much as how many times he put the ball in the hoop.


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Howard’s CJ Williams finishes career for school, MEAC record books
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