Point man: Guard J.J. Williams leads basketball team and rap group
January 15, 2014 | Ian Richardson
J.J. Williams had decided to give up basketball. After getting married, the Jacksonville College student had turned down numerous transfer offers from other schools, some of them at the NCAA Division-I level.
He was preparing to finish his education and enter the music business until his junior college coach called him about Evangel.
Head coach Steve Jenkins was looking to fill a void at point guard, and Williams was looking for a top-notch program to finish his degree. Jenkins encouraged him to visit, and after meeting the coach and playing with future teammates, Williams committed to spending his next two years at Evangel.
“I prayed about it, and it just felt right,” Williams says.
Two years later, the senior is a standout on the court for the Crusaders, and on the mic with his hip-hop music group Indigenous Outsiders.
Listen to the Indigenous Outsiders mixtape featuring Evangel’s J.J. Williams.
Jenkins says Williams is the force that makes the team go, both through his athletic skills and leadership qualities.
“J.J. does everything a point guard should,” Jenkins says. “He’s a quick, athletic ball-handler who can get to the rim and score. He’s also a very vocal and intense leader who keeps our guys accountable.”
As one of only two seniors on the youthful squad that is 14-3 and ranked No. 5 in the nation, Williams is averaging nearly 17 points and 4 assists per game.
Away from basketball, Williams will earn a Marketing degree from Evangel that he plans to use as a record label executive.
He is currently teaming up with friend Xavier Bright as a performer in the duo Indigenous Outsiders, which released its self-titled debut mixtape in 2013.
Rapping is a new interest for Williams, who discovered his talent while living in Texas.
“Somebody read a poem I had written and was like, ‘Man, you should turn it into a rap,'” Williams says. “I tried, and people liked it, so I just kind of kept going, and my passion just grew for it.”
Williams and Bright met through their wives, and quickly realized they shared a mutual love for creating music.
“He did music, and I did music,” Williams says. “We kind of just had a heart for the same thing, and so we just made music together.”
Williams says the tandem creates music that anyone can listen to and relate with. Before basketball season began, “Indigout” was playing a couple shows per week.
Whether he’s dropping a beat or a three-pointer, Williams says what keeps him successful is a dedication to honoring God’s call to do things with excellence.
“I want to work hard every day,” Williams says. “If the team is playing flat, I’ve got to be the guy who’s going hard. I can’t ask the other players to do something if I’m not doing it myself.”
For Williams, relationships are what make basketball, music and ultimately all of life special. He urges his teammates and fans to embrace opportunities to interact with people and form friendships.
“Relationships are one-of-a-kind,” he says. “That’s what always makes the journey what it is. It’s not the journey itself, it’s the relationships you build along the journey.”
Check out Evangel Basketball. Photos courtesy of Brandon Willis and Woodie Moore.