Byrd point guard Diamond Willis will join the ever-growing throng of northwest Louisiana girls basketball players headed to southwest Louisiana to continue their basketball careers.
Willis said on Sunday she has committed to McNeese State coach Brooks Donald Williams and will sign with the Lady Cowboys in April.
“I really liked the environment there and the fact that everyone seems to get along well,” Willis said. “I watched a practice and everyone was pretty intense, but I’m used to that from coach (Toni) Martinez. They all seemed to enjoy being there.”
The Times All-City performer joins Times All-Area players Victoria Rachal (16.5 points) of Natchitoches Central and KeAnna Rainwater (24.2 points) of Saline as new Lady Cowboys.
“I knew they had signed and they are good players, but that didn’t influence my decision to sign with McNeese,” Willis said. “I’ve played against Victoria just about every year I’ve been at Byrd.”
Unselfish in her play as the Lady Jackets’ point guard, Willis could have averaged more than the 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game she put up in leading Byrd to the state playoffs. The Lady Jackets lost 61-46 to Mt. Carmel in the opening game of the 5A postseason.
“Diamond was so important to us to be on the floor because she not only controlled the tempo of the game, but her teammates believed in her and her abilities to get the ball where it needed to be,” Martinez said. “I’m very proud of the person and player she has become.”
She chose McNeese over offers from Nicholls State, Grambling, Southeastern and ETBU.
Willis said the McNeese coaching staff plans to use her on the wing, although she can play positions 2 through 4. She expects to major in nursing at the university.
“I’ll start working with coach Martinez soon to get ready for college, then I’ll probably go down there to McNeese and work out during the summer.”
Verbal commitments are not binding. College coaches are not allowed to comment on high school players until they officially sign. The spring signing period opens on April 10.