The UNCP men’s basketball team has finished the regular season as Peach Belt Conference champions for the second straight year, and it was truly a team effort from the offseason until their championship clinching win over Flagler College.
The phrase “Iron sharpens iron” is derived from a famous biblical verse found in Proverbs 27:17, in which it says: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. This verse can compare the process of rubbing two blades against each other to make them both sharper to how two teammates competing against one another day in and day out will, in turn, make them both better and elevate the overall success of the team.
Unbeknown to individuals outside of the program who don’t have regular access to the team’s practices and scrimmages, no player on the roster embodies, nor do they epitomize, the essence of that verse more than senior guard Desmond Williams.
The graduating senior has not accumulated any stats in his time as a Brave, nor has he seen any significant time on a court in an actual game since his senior year at Milwaukee Lutheran High School, where he received team defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season.
As a senior in high school, the native of Milwaukee, Wis. averaged 10 points, a pair of rebounds and just over four assists per game. However, if you ask any of his teammates and coaches, he’s one of the most humbly talented and most determined players on the team per admissions of fellow seniors and head coach Ben Miller.
“He’s modest. We call him Des Buckets because he lights these guys up every day in practice. They can’t guard him, we got nobody that can guard Des, he’s the toughest guy to guard,” Miller said. His fellow seniors in Brandon Watts, Nigel Grant and Bryson Hall all vehemently regaled of a practice in which Des Buckets was making it rain and shot 11 perimeter shots in succession.
They also reiterated the enormous amount of humility that their compatriot constantly displays as he always downplays his success in practice. William’s teammates all value the significance of being challenged by such a talented player in practice and acknowledge how it helps them get ready for games.
They believe that if he were to see some game action everyone would remember Des Buckets.
“It’s been great being a Brave and just playing in practice with these guys because they’re so talented. It was a very surreal feeling to cut down nets two years in a row because after I left my high school I didn’t know if I was ever going to play again because I moved,” Buckets said. “Just getting to this point and cutting down nets two years in a row like that, I never thought I was going to do that when I came into college.”