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'It's like a dream come true': Rutgers men's basketball is final stop of Austin Williams' lengthy collegiate career

Graduate student guard Austin Williams spent just one season with the Rutgers men's basketball team but provided many sparks when the team needed him most. – Photo by Evan Leong

Despite spending just one season with the Rutgers men's basketball team, graduate student guard Austin Williams is no stranger to the Garden State. Williams grew up approximately an hour away from New Brunswick in Roseland, New Jersey, and was happy to return home for his final collegiate season.

"It's been a great experience, and it's great to do it back here in (New Jersey) where it all started," Williams said.

Before becoming a Scarlet Knight, Williams spent two seasons at Marist, seeing time as a role player and averaging approximately 16 minutes per game. Williams only started three combined games during his two years as a Red Fox and decided to transfer to Hartford after his sophomore campaign.

After redshirting in 2019-2020, Williams played two seasons with the Hawks and found himself in the starting lineup in each of the 51 games he played. Williams found his offensive stride during this time, averaging 15.2 points per game and shooting an impressive 50.3 percent from the field.

After his strong play for Hartford, Williams elected to transfer once again. He wound up at Florida International University, where he ultimately did not ever step foot on the court due to injury. He was granted a medical redshirt, so he had one more year of eligibility left, and, not quite finding a home down in Florida, he entered the transfer portal once more.

Williams knew he wanted to return to his home state but ultimately was still unsure where he would end up.

This brings the long story of Williams to this past offseason when he joined Rutgers for his fourth and final collegiate basketball stop. Williams made his first appearance for the Knights during the team's preseason trip over the summer, during which they visited Senegal and Portugal.

Despite being a new addition to the team at the time, Williams was welcomed with open arms.

"It was a fun time. Even though I just met the guys, it was like they just welcomed me in right away," Williams said. "We really have a great group of guys. I have great teammates, and I really appreciate them. They were very welcoming, and we had a good time on that trip."

Throughout the season for Rutgers, Williams showed his toughness and determination. Battling knee pain from a previous knee injury throughout the season, Williams fought through it to appear in 26 of 32 games for the Knights and made the most of every opportunity he had on the court.

"It's been tough, just trying to push through this injury," Williams said regarding his health. "It's a lot different from what I'm normally used to because I hadn't really had to do this before surgery. I'm just happy that I'm here, and I try to help these guys out as much as I can."

Williams' presence and skill on the court impacted many games this season. One of his defining games at Rutgers came when he scored 11 points and hit a clutch overtime three-pointer in an 87-82 win over Nebraska.

Although short-lived, there is no doubt that Williams' impact on his fellow Knight teammates and coaches will be remembered.

Playing for your home state in any sport is a dream that many have, but few get to live out. Williams fulfilled that aspiration and represented his state university with class.

"It's like a dream come true," he said. "It's something I dreamed of when I was a kid, so I'm glad I got to do that."

For more updates on the Rutgers men's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Nicholas Hart's work, follow @nhart03 on X.

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