LaBree Williams Jr. knows the value of hard work because three very important men in his life saw potential in his basketball career. He is excelling thanks to their leadership.
LaBree Williams, Calvary Baptist Academy Head Coach Victor Morris, and Derrick Parker have been instrumental in helping Williams Jr. develop into the player he is now. Each of them played at the college level and two played overseas. They have been where Williams Jr. wants to go.
He knew as a sixth-grader he had the talent to play the game and he has only gotten better coming up on his junior season for the Calvary Baptist Academy Cavaliers. The 6-foot-6 Shreveport, La., native averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game during the 2019-20 season. Check out his sophomore highlights.
“Bree was big for us last season. I think he caught everybody outside of Shreveport by surprise. Not many people knew who he was or what he was capable of, but they found out quickly,” Morris said about how Williams Jr. played.
He led a Cavaliers team that went to its first-ever LHSAA Division IV State Championship game. With the 60-49 loss to the Crescent City Christian Pioneers, the Cavaliers finished the year 25-11 (8-2 1A District 1).
“It was very exciting. We made history [because] our school hasn’t been there before. We’re going back this year and we’re going to win state,” Williams said about the Cavaliers playoff run. “I made a special bond with brothers that I know I’ll have along the way after high school. It was a very exciting season, but we have some unfinished business.”
Making the transition from being a big man to becoming a guard was difficult for him. Before the transition, all he could do is post up and shoot. To make the move he went to work in the summer with his father, Parker, and Morris on his ballhandling and it paid dividends.
It wasn’t hard for Morris to see the skillset Williams Jr. put on display in practice and on game day. In the Cavaliers 78-75 quarterfinal win over the Opelousas Catholic Vikings, Morris watched in amazement as he took over the game during a stretch and finished with close to 30 points and 11 rebounds. He followed that up with 25 points and eight rebounds as the Cavaliers took down the Hamilton Christian Warriors in the semifinals 56-44.
Morris continuously reminds Williams Jr. that he needs to work on all aspects of his game so that there are no weaknesses to exploit. Play with a high motor and be able to guard whatever position you play. There are 6-foot-6 guards at the next level, so he has to be ready.
“You have to develop the mentality and lifestyle of high major athlete or a pro athlete way before you make it to that level,” Morris said.
LaBree Williams Jr. was just named a three-star recruit in the 2022 class by 247Sports and the site ranked him the 50th best small forward and third-best player in Louisiana. He holds offers from the University of Houston, Louisiana Tech, University of Alabama-Birmingham, and the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He’s been recruited by Kansas State, Cincinnati, Tulsa, Southern Miss, UTSA, and others.
Scoring off the fast break and posting up smaller defenders are areas of the game he thrives in and he loves exploiting mismatches for an and-one opportunity or easy bucket.
“I learned that I’m a really good player and when I play like I need to; nobody can stop me. You put somebody in front of me, they can’t stop me,” Williams Jr. said about what he learned during his sophomore season.
His goals for the 2020-21 season are getting the Cavalier seniors a championship ring, earning a First-Team All-State honor, and being at the top of the list in every other category.
The Cavaliers will play their first game of the year against the Pleasant Hill Eagles Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. ET. They beat the Eagles in the season opener last year 70-56.
“What I expect from Bree this year is to become more of a leader on and off the court, continue to work and develop his game, dominate games on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Play with a high motor at all times and have fun playing the game. The rest will take care of itself. He’s a big-time player with a big future if he does those things,” Morris said.