Shemera Williams is taking her basketball scoring talents out of the state.
The Milwaukee Academy of Science star, who had originally committed to Marquette, announced Tuesday she was heading to the University of Virginia next season.
“I just thought it was the best fit for me,” Williams said. “The coaching staff … the head coach was really close with me even when I committed to Marquette. I think she’ll take care of me and make sure I stay on track.”
The Cavaliers are coached by former WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Tina Thompson. The Cavaliers were 12-19 last season in Thompson’s first year at the school.
“She’s on to something there; building it,” Williams said. “The things she’s telling me, I think she’s going to help me grow as a person more than anything.”
Williams had committed to Marquette and former head coach Carolyn Kieger in November. But Kieger announced she was leaving for Penn State on April 3. That night, Williams said she was opening up her recruitment, although she still was considering MU.
Megan Duffy was hired as MU’s head coach just under a week after Kieger’s departure. Duffy, who retained two of Kieger’s assistants in Vernette Skeete and Scott Merritt, tried hard to keep Williams.
“She’s a special talent and to keep her home is extremely important,” Duffy said of Williams a few days after accepting the MU coaching job.
But Williams said some recent events in her personal life caused her to look outside of Milwaukee.
“I think I just want to have a fresh start,” she said. “Start a new journey and just have fun doing it. And I think it will be best for me to get out of the city.“
— Shemera Williams (@_Swilliams10) May 21, 2019
Williams led the state in scoring for the third straight season with 32.5 points per game and averaged 10.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 4.5 steals. She was named the Associated Press player of the year.
As a junior, she led the nation in scoring by dropping 39.9 points per game. With better talent surrounding her as a senior, she hit 49.3% of her shots (270 of 546), including 36.4% (78 of 214) of her three-point attempts.
The 5-foot-8 point guard finished as the No. 2 all-time scorer in girls state high-school history with 3,120 points behind only South Shore’s Megan Gustafson (3,229).
For MU, Duffy is still piecing together her roster for next season. The Golden Eagles were slated to have eight newcomers who committed to Kieger.
Sharna Ayres, a 5-11 guard from Australia, spent a semester at MU but left to join Louisiana State.
Jordan King, a 5-10 guard from Rockton, Illinois, recommitted to the Golden Eagles after Duffy was hired. But Destiny Strother, a 5-9 guard from Flint, Michigan, reopened her recruitment.
Nirel Lougbo (5-10; North Andover, Massachussests), Camryn Taylor (6-2; Peoria, Illinois), Taylor Valladay (5-7; Chicago) and Claire Kaifes (5-11; Shawnee, Kansas) have not formally announced their intentions for next season.