Class of 2011
Barry "Buck" Williams just shrugs over the thought of what might have been during his basketball career at Clements High School. Despite not having the luxury of the three-point shot and possessing what many would consider an unorthodox jump shot, William's was a scoring machine as a four-year starter for the Colts. The 2011 Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame inductee finished his high school career averaging nearly 25 ppg.
Williams says that had the three-point line been around during his high school playing days, his game could have been adversely affected. "I get asked all the time about the three- point shot. I might have been like a lot of players today in that I could have been too conscience of that line. I would rather focus on the fact that I had great teammates at Clements and played on some really good teams. We had great support from everyone at Clements. Our principal, students, fans and parents really supported the basketball team. The atmosphere at our games was special, "said Williams One person who would know what the three-point shot would have meant to Williams scoring numbers was his high school coach Garland Murphree. "Oh my goodness, there is no telling how many more points Buck would have scored," said Murphree. "He was such a natural shooter and his follow through on his jump shot was beautiful. Probably the best thing I ever did as a high school basketball coach was that I never tried to change Buck's shot." Three-point shot or not, Williams became a highly decorated high school player. He was twice named All-Area and All-State. He was named Most Valuable Player of Limestone County after his junior and senior seasons. Williams was also nominated for the highly prestigious McDonald's High School All-American team. By the time he graduated in 1985, Williams had scored nearly 2700 career points (with a high game of 57 points against Lexington) and led the Colts to a 77-31 record.
The only regret Williams says he has about his high school career was that Clements never could advance to the state tournament. However, as Williams says there was a pretty good reason why. "Well, I could give you two reasons. One was Tanner High School and the other East Limestone High School," laughs Williams. "We always were wandering what Coach (Henry) White was going to have at Tanner and Coach (Jimmy) Drake was going to have at East. I played on some really good teams at Clements but we played in an era where just about all the county teams were bunched into the same area and only one team advanced. We almost made it to the state my senior season but Logan Tisdale banked a shot in near half-court against us as time expired and Tanner beat us in the area tournament by one point." Murphree says Williams was a pleasure to coach. "Buck always had a smile on his face and he was very coachable. He had the quickest first step of any player I coached. Buck was a very humble person. Yet, like all the really good players, he had confidence in his playing ability. Buck Williams was without a doubt one or the very best players I ever coached," said Murphree.
Tab Black, a former high school teammate of Williams, says that Williams was a great athlete. "Buck was such an explosive player who had incredible range on his jump shot. He was so quick and was a great leaper. He was just a very talented basketball player. Buck was a great friend and teammate," said Black.
Williams's talent earned him numerous scholarship offers but he decided to remain close to home and signed with the University of North Alabama. He was a four-year letterman for the Lions and became one of the most prolific scorers in school history. Williams is currently listed as the fourth all-time leading scorer in UNA history with 1,480 points (13.6 ppg.). He led the Lions in scoring his senior season (15.8 ppg.) and was named to the Gulf South All- Conference team. By the time he finished his career at UNA in 1989, Williams had clearly established himself as one of top long range shooters in the nation as he made 270 three-point shots during his four years with the Lions.
Williams says he enjoyed his career at UNA. "I really enjoyed playing for Coach (Bill) Jones and later Coach (Gary) Elliot. Coach Jones was like a father figure to me. He really made the point about the importance of getting a good education and being a productive citizen. We won a lot of games at UNA. Our two main rivals at the time were Troy State and Jacksonville State and we had some epic games with those teams," said Williams.
Once his career expired at UNA, Williams traveled overseas and played professionally in France. He returned to the states and participated in several professional basketball teams training camps before returning to college and earning his degree.
Williams says the induction into the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame is a great honor for him. "To be honest, I was surprised when I found out that I was being inducted. I had to ask my wife if this is real. I feel privileged to be selected. I never considered myself as a special player. I loved the game of basketball and I have some great memories from my playing days," said Williams.