East Carolina’s forgettable basketball season is one game from is merciful end. But there is one thing — other than the hiring of a new coach — that has Pirates fans looking forward to the future.
It’s been the play of Shawn Williams, who was named the American Athletic Conference’s Rookie of the Year on Wednesday in a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches. He was also a unanimous choice for the league’s All-Rookie team.
Williams averages 12.2 points per game and made 36.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. He leads the AAC in free throw shooting at 87.0 percent, ranks fourth in treys per game and has been the conference’s Rookie of the Week a record-tying four times.
A redshirt freshman guard who had to sit out last season for academic reasons, Williams is the only AAC freshman to score 30 or more points in a game, doing so on Feb. 3 against Memphis on a night in which he set a school freshman record with seven 3-pointers.
Williams is the Pirates’ first AAC Rookie of the Year and the fourth to win a conference freshman honor, joining Gus Hill in 1988, Lester Lyons in 1991 and Gabriel Mikaulas in 2001 while a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
ECU will play what figures to be its final game on Thursday at 9 p.m. against Central Florida in the first round of the AAC tournament.