When Britton Williams decided earlier this year to stay home and play basketball at Cal State Bakersfield as a walk-on, all he wanted was an opportunity to play and prove himself at the NCAA Division I level.
Already, the former Liberty High School standout point guard has done both.
Thrust into the limelight at a quickened pace due to a season-ending knee injury to starting point Zach Lamb, Williams -- a true freshman -- has shown to be more than a capable replacement.
Through the first seven games of the season, Williams was leading CSUB in assists per game (3.8) while playing the sixth most minutes per game (18.5) on the team.
The 5-foot-10 lightning-fast Williams has had little trouble adjusting to playing big-time college basketball.
"It's actually not as difficult as I thought it would be," Williams said. "There are some taller guys, definitely, but I have the advantage of using my speed and quickness against them... The pace of the game is a lot faster. But I can handle it. I don't know if I was expecting to get this role so fast. But I just got to make the most of it."
Williams, after a stellar four-year varsity prep career, had his choice of several colleges but chose CSUB because he thought it was the best fit for him.
Considering his walk-on status and lack of college playing experience, Williams was hoping, but not necessarily expecting, to play so much, so soon.
Not that Williams hasn't been preparing for his big chance most of his life. Wanting to emulate his big brother Bryson Williams, who is six years his senior, Britton began playing basketball as a four year old.
Eventually, Williams began playing YMCA and club basketball. All of the time he spent on the court playing club basketball and against his brother -- who eventually went on to play at Stockdale High School and then College of the Canyons in Valencia -- paid dividends when Britton reached high school.
After making the varsity team at Stockdale as a freshman, Britton transferred to Liberty High School where he made an immediate impact, leading the Patriots to a Central Section championship.
Following his junior and senior seasons, he was a Bakersfield Californian First Team All-Area selection.
Williams' tremendous driving and passing skills aren't his only positive basketball attributes. He's a solid three-point shooter. He plays tough, hard-nosed, in-your-face defense. And perhaps most importantly, for his job as a point guard, he's also a strong leader.
"I try to connect with each player differently, like how they are as a person," Williams said. "And that helps you communicate when you're out on the court. You can't approach everyone in the same way... I get how people work, and I'm able to really get through to them and figure out how to get them to play harder."
Now that he's getting a chance to play a substantial number of minutes each game, Williams hopes he can make an impact on the rest of the Runners' season.
His goals include finishing the year with a 5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, and helping the Runners be successful as a team.
"We have a lot of talented players, so I just really want to set them up and get them going," Williams said. "Hopefully we can get on a win streak and get back to the post season."