I coached Casey Williams more years than any player at GHS. She was on the varsity all four years in high school. And she was on a YMCA team I coached when she was in 2nd or 3rd grade. When she was at the YMCA, all of the players fought over who took the ball out of bounds, and then who got to dribble the ball up the floor. Our solution was to give a black wrist band to the player who got to take it out, and then a red wrist band to the player who would dribble the ball up the floor. By the time Casey got to the high school, we didn’t need the wrist bands.
Casey has always had good basketball skills. She was skilled enough to play on the varsity as a freshman. She was an outstanding defender for GHS. Her senior year, there were times she guarded point guards, shooters, and even post players. But what stands out about Casey is that she is just so competitive. There was no one Casey would back down from.
Now Casey attends Benedictine University in Lisle. She jumped in and was a regular for the team her first season, and Benedictine plays in a tough conference. This past year, as a sophomore, Casey had to have surgery on her leg. But as one would expect, Casey competed in rehab and worked herself back into playing condition. Now she is headed into her junior year.
Massey- You had trouble with your legs last year and had to go thru treatment and rehab. I was trying to think back and I believe it was the first time you have had a significant injury of health issue. How hard was it to go thru that? How are you doing health wise now?
Casey- It was really hard for me to go from a peek in my basketball career to taking almost a year off. I had to debate if it was worth going through with the surgery and everything because they said if I was not committed to basketball I did not need to do it. I just couldn't picture myself not playing my last 3 years of college. My legs still bother me from time to time. I have to sit out more than I used to because I can't make it playing a full game, but that does not stop me from playing. Other than that everything else is good.
Massey- You are headed into your junior year. What were the toughest parts of transitioning into being a college student vs being a high school student?
Casey- College classes definitely require a lot more studying and time management, so managing class times, practice times, and study times with also getting a decent amount of sleep can be tough especially towards the end of the semester.
Massey- What was the toughest adjustment for you in basketball as a freshman?
Casey- Definitely the early morning practices I had all first semester. Sometimes it is hard accommodating everyone's schedule with a good practice time so 5:30 am it was, and let me tell you it is tough being ready to play that early every morning and then going to class all day.
Massey- In your first two years, what have been the highs for you and your team in basketball?
Casey- Freshman year we started out great winning our first 6 games and then there were some lows but we did end up making our conference tournament that year and won the first game vs. a team we lost to twice that year. My sophomore year we had an awesome 19-3 regular season record and beating a conference team (Wisconsin Lutheran) for the first time in 7 years!!! We had no seniors, so we didn't lose anyone. We are ready for a hopefully even better year!
Massey- What are the closest place to Galesburg you will be playing this coming year?
Casey- This year our first game of the year is at Augustana in Rock Island! They are not in our conference but I'm excited to be playing in a familiar town where hopefully some friends and family can come and watch. Other than that, my closes conference game would be in Aurora.
Massey- How have you improved as a basketball player since high school?
Casey- I've definitely increased strength and confidence going to the basket where there is a lot of contact. Also, I think my basketball IQ has increased even more.
Massey- What are your goals personally for this coming basketball season?
Casey- This coming season I want to be a difference maker with scoring. I haven't ever been a big scorer, defense is my thing but scoring 6+ pts a night I think would be a huge help especially being a player who gets a lot of minutes.
Massey- You have some “big name” relatives with Doug and Chris Collins. What nuggets have you gotten from them?
Casey- Being around them my whole life and just listening to what they have to stay has definitely given me a big basketball IQ from a young age. They are just so basketball smart and I think I've learned a lot from just listening to them talk about the game and all the stories they have told. My uncle would always give me tips professionals use to make themselves better and that would be very useful as well.
Massey- When things have been tough at college as a student or as a player- any advise from Mom or Dad you try to turn to?
Casey- My dad always says college basketball won't determine my future as much as schooling will, so get through my school struggles first. Communicate with my coaches because I'm lucky to have them there as extra advising help, before stressing myself out with basketball. If I'm frustrated after a game, he just tells me to relax and have fun because that's what it should be, I only have a few more years left to play competitively. He's gotten easier on me over the years! And my mom just always agrees with my dad- haha!
Massey- What is your major? What do you hope to do after college?
Casey- My major is Physical Therapy and I hope to go on to grad school, but I am undecided where. I hope to become a Physical Therapist one day
Massey- When you come back to Galesburg, where is the place you have to go eat?
Casey- Sully’s!! Nothing beats their mild wings they are my absolute favorite
Massey- When you think back to your high school career, is there any particular game that makes you smile?
Casey- Yes! Our tournament at Knox College my freshman year where Sharron made a lay-up to beat number 2 Champaign Centennial or when you put me in a rough game at UT freshman year. I was so scared, but you looked at me and said trust me you can't mess up. I went in and made a three right away and like three huge blocks. We came back for double digit losing to within 4 pts. That was fun for me even though we lost
And I just wanted to mention my favorite memory of all.. our 2015 sweet sixteen banner in the rafters!
Benedictine Women's Basketball Schedule