By Michael Beaven
Joshua Williams will be attending a new high school this year, and he will be doing so as a University of Akron men’s basketball recruit.
Williams, who is entering his junior year, said Thursday that he will not be back at Barberton this school year, and that he and his younger brother, freshman Jonathan Williams, have applied to attend St. Vincent-St. Mary.
“I feel like it is a good fit education-wise, especially,” Joshua Williams said. “A lot of things that they do education-wise is a step up from Barberton, and they also have a good basketball program too.
“It was a really difficult decision because we made such a big impact on the community in Barberton and have a lot of friends. It was hard. When I am going around Barberton, it feels a little different.”
He said they should know if they are accepted into St. V-M “in the next week.”
Their father, Jerry Williams II, said Thursday his sons are in the process of looking at St. V-M.
“We are waiting to see if they are approved or not, as of right now,” Jerry II said. “That is where we are at with St. Vincent-St. Mary.
“It’s a better opportunity academically and athletically. The things that are taking place at St. Vincent-St. Mary are good for what we want do for our sons, and what we want to see them accomplish in their lives in the future.”
He also said the family is relocating.
“We will not be returning to Barberton if that is the case,” Jerry II said about his sons possibly not being accepted to St. V-M. “At this point, I do not know where they will be attending if they don’t get accepted to St. Vincent-St. Mary.
“We will be moved out of the Barberton district by the middle of next week. We are moving into Akron.”
Joshua and Jonathan’s older brother, Jerry Williams III, graduated from Barberton this year. He starred in football as a defensive lineman and in basketball as a center.
Per OHSAA rules, Joshua would have to sit out half of the upcoming 22-game regular season because he is transferring. Jonathan is eligible the full season because he is a freshman
Joshua, 16, is 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. He plays point guard and earned Associated Press All-Ohio Division I second-team honors as a sophomore after averaging around 20 points, five assists and four steals per game. He scored around 14 points per game as a freshman.
“I chose to commit to Akron because I feel like it is a good fit,” he said. “They are family oriented and I like that. It is also close to home and my parents went there. I know what it is like at Akron and I feel comfortable there.”
UA won the 2013 Mid-American Conference championship and appeared in the NCAA Tournament. He also received interest from Ohio, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Toledo, Butler and Western Kentucky.
Jonathan, 14, is a 5-foot-10 point guard.
“He is more than likely going to play JV, with some varsity time,” Joshua said.
Joshua and Jonathan share the same birthday, October 1.
Joshua Williams said the first day of school at St. V-M is Aug. 20, and Barberton’s first day of school is Aug. 26.
“The family has inquired about admission and applied.” St. V-M Athletic Director Andy Jalwan said. “They have not enrolled at St. Vincent-St. Mary.”
St. V-M was the Division II state runner-up in basketball in 2013. The Fighting Irish are set to return 6-foot-7 sophomore VJ King and 6-foot-6 senior Jalen Hudson, a pair of highly recruited players who earned All-Ohio honors in Division II.
Barberton coach Ken Rector and St. V-M coach Dru Joyce II had no comment.