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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

James 'Fly" Williams

James “Fly” Williams. The name may not mean much to some, but in his time, "Fly" Williams was a celebrity in Clarksville and in arenas across the Ohio Valley Conference. It was a time of fun and flair on the court. Make no mistake, “Fly” Williams was an entertaining personality. I remember the times when James "Fly" Williams and the Austin Peay Governors came to Johnson City, Tennessee to play the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in 1973 and 1974.

"Fly" was entertaining on the court and he could play the game of basketball. He regularly shot beyond 25 feet. He was eccentric. He would lay out in front of the bench doing time outs and during the times when he was not playing. In a trip that the “Peay" made to Johnson City, Fly shot and missed a 25 foot jump shot, a co-ed sitting near the court said out loud, "I knew you could not make that shot". The next time down the court in front of the area where the co-ed sat, Fly let fly a 25 foot jump shot, which hit nothing but net. On the way back down ran near to where the co-ed sat and said “Is that shot long enough for you?”

“Fly" averaged over 29 points per game during his freshmen year and nearly the same his sophomore year. But "Fly" was not suited for the college games and he was not disciplined . After his sophomore year he declared for the hardship draft and was drafted by the ABA’s Spirits of St. Louis. This effectively ended "Fly" Williams’s collegiate career. Before his career was over, Williams led “the Peay" to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1973 losing to Kentucky coached by Joe B. Hall. Williams led Austin Peay is scoring at 27 points per game and once again led Austin Peay in the 1974 NCAA tournament.