Coming out of Lindsay Thurber High School Keitlyn Williams was considered a strong candidate to play college basketball.
She was recruited by several colleges, but decided to attend Olds in 2012. However, she changed her mind, in fact decided to simply step away from the game completely.
Five years later she’s back on the court and playing a significant role with the RDC Queens.
“I ended up not touching a basketball for five years,” she explained. “I just stepped away. I never even scrimmaged or watched.”
Last year she decided to attend RDC and it was then she made contact with Queens head coach Ken King.
“I was going to school here and Ken invited me out to practice and tryout and it worked out,” she said. “It was a little hard as the game is a lot faster than high school.
Williams joined the Queens for the second half of the season and played eight games. She saw limited floor time as she became comfortable with the systems. She finished with 2.5 points per game, 10 rebounds and four assists.
“It was a little frustrating at first because I was away for so long, and I wasn’t as good as I once was. But I’m picking it up,” she said.
“Coming in last year at the midway point is challenging for anybody but especially when you haven’t played for that long,” said King.
“So last year was tough on her. But she’s definitely more comfortable this year. She had the off season to train and get ready and came in great shape. She works hard and looks a lot more comfortable.”
In high school Williams was a scorer, but also was able to see the floor. Her vision hasn’t changed.
“Being able to see the floor certainly helped,” she said. “But my shooting isn’t where I’d like it to be. I struggled there a bit.”
Williams is listed at point guard back of starter Eva Bonde.
“I always played point and I’m comfortable there and playing behind Eva,” said the 23-year-old.
“Now she’s able to play a role where she doesn’t have to score and doesn’t have to be the best player on the floor like she did back in high school,” said King. “Now she plays to her strengths and do what comes naturally. It makes the game come a lot more to her.”
Williams is one of the older players on the Queens, and smiles when talking about her teammates calling her old.
“Even one of the referees last year called me grandma,” she said laughing.
But she’s fit in nicely with the team.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I made some new friends and I really like our team chemistry this year.”
Williams grew up 30 minutes east of Red Deer and eventually moved to Red Deer for middle school.
She always loved basketball, since joining the Hoops program at RDC in Grade 2.
“So I’ve been in this gym for many years,” she said.
This could be her final season with the Queens.
‘I’m taking two years in the social program and then I’m not sure. I have a couple of options. We’ll see.”
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca