PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — One final Peoria workout before he heads back to the University of Illinois.
Da’Monte Williams putting in summer work with his Peoria coach and trainer David Williams as he gets ready to return to college for a fifth season with the Fighting Illini. Williams is taking advantage of a bonus year of eligibility offered by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Once we found out we had the opportunity to come back, I gave it some deep thought,” Williams said. “Sat down with my parents and went from there.”
He spent part of the summer working out in a small Hanna City gym with David Williams.
“Most guys would have left, he came back and stuck with it,” David Williams said. “Perseverance is a big thing when you think about Da’Monte Williams. And toughness. He brings that toughness to Illinois they need.”
With all that experience under his belt, Williams is prepared to be Illinois’ floor leader this season. Even if it means being more of a vocal leader.
“It’s a challenge for me. I’m a quiet guy,” Williams said. “I just have to get out of that comfort zone. I’ll be fine.”
Da’Monte Williams’ year has been filled with ups and downs. On the upside, his Illini won a Big 10 Tournament championship after a season spent inside the Top 25.
On the downside, his Illini were bounced early in the NCAA Tournament by Missouri Valley champ Loyola. But he has no doubt what his biggest accomplishment of the year is.
Graduating with a degree in sociology.
“Words can’t describe how it felt to graduate, especially when both your parents are there,” Williams said. “I just can’t stop smiling, talking about it. That’s big time from the University of Illinois. It’s not easy to get into.”
Williams will work on his minor in his final year of school at Illinois. And he’s happy to get one more year to play hoops at Illinois.
Da’Monte Williams appears ready to get back to work.