Kaitlyn Williams grew up on the hardcourt.
During the course of three seasons under the tutelage of coach Trung Duong, she has matured into a strong team leader.
“The last two years she’s just been phenomenal,” Duong said. “It’s a 180 degree turnaround, which both myself and Andre Simoneau, the assistant coach, are really happy about.”
But basketball didn’t just start for Williams in grade 11. Her hoop dreams began when she started standing on terra firma.
“Ever since I was two-years-old I fell in love with the sport and I haven’t stopped playing it,” she said. “I just like the thrill of it. It’s an exciting sport because of how it’s grown pretty much into a worldwide phenomenon.”
It doesn’t hurt that she’s been one of two towers of basketball prowess at Riverdale.
Duong commended her for her stellar play both on and off the court, which was augmented by her teammate Rachel Hunter.
“The two of them are co-captains really,” he said. “Without either one it would be a bad situation for the team. The two of them go hand in hand.”
For Duong it’s Williams’ experience that makes her stand out.
“She’s got an intensity about her on the court that the rest of the team basically looks up to,” he said. “When Kaitlyn speaks, whether it’s at practice or during a timeout during the game, everybody’s listening.
“She’s got the respect from all of her teammates.”
That tenacity and love of the game has even received some sporting interest from south of the border.
Williams could not remember which colleges were pursuing her, but Duong found them hard to forget.
“There’s actually a situation right where she has been offered two scholarships: one to the University of Michigan and one to Duke,” he said. “She’s still in the process of making her decision on that.”
It feels pretty good, Williams said, of her abilities piquing interest, but playing for either school is no slam-dunk.
“It’d be good if I can go down south, if not I’m still fine with playing basketball up here for an Ontario college,” she said, adding since most of her growing pains have been experienced on the court, it only makes sense she’ll take kinesiology once in school and grow into physiotherapy.
“I do a lot with sports and I do have my own personal injuries,” she said of academic pursuit.
But she’ll be sure to take her memories of her Raiders’ appearance at the Tier 2 finals against the Leaside Lancers this season with her.
“Even though we weren’t really tight height-wise, we’re really a competitive team and that helped us get to the Tier 2 championship,” she said.
Riverdale lost the match 36-29, but she was grateful for the experience and lauded Duong for his hard work.
“He’s a very understanding and competitive coach,” she said. “He knows what’s best for the team and he’s a good role model.”
About this article: