Ervin Williams, a 2011 graduate of St. Catharine College, will soon be doing what every college player dreams of – playing basketball for a living. But, while the 6-9 New Jersey native will play professionally, his new team will likely never win a game.
Williams, the second leading scorer for the Patriots in 2010-2011 when they advanced to the NAIA National Tournament, has signed a contract with the Washington Generals. That name probably sounds familiar to most fans as the team that provides the losing opposition each night to the Harlem Globetrotters.
Actually, Williams has already been playing professionally since leaving St. Catharine with career averages of 14 points and seven rebounds a game. He spent last season in the UBA (Universal Basketball Association) with the Cincinnati Slam. For the Slam, that finished the regular season at 19-1, Williams averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds a game. That earned him a place on the All-Star team as well as the All-Rookie team.
But the affable, soft-spoken big man is ready now for a new chapter in his basketball career. My coach (with the Slam) helped me get the opportunity with the Generals,” said Williams. “I will sign my contract within the next week and start with them in late July.”
That will be the beginning of a whirlwind schedule as the Generals trot the globe to face their famous opponent. The Generals have lost over 13,000 games to the Globetrotters as the fans come to see the comedic routines of a team that has included stars such as Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal. Williams is not bothered, however, by the prospect of losing each night – he already understands the routine.
“It will be fun,” he said. “I haven’t seen the Globetrotters since I was young but it is still the same show. It is hard to say how long I will play with them. I have met one player who has been with them for three years and still enjoys it. Others, I understand, have made a career with the Generals.”
That career would be an enviable one for many ballplayers as the Generals are one of the most traveled basketball teams in history, having played throughout the United States and in over 120 different countries. Within the next few months they will play in France, Monaco and Cancun, Mexico.
Williams, however, is not certain that the Generals will be his last stop in professional basketball. “I would like to play in Europe if I get a chance and if the money is better than what I will be making.”
J.T. Burton, Williams’ coach at St. Catharine, is certain that his former player can play at a high level. “He is really good,” said Burton. “He has stayed here since graduating and worked out with us. He has gotten much stronger in the last year.”
Burton added that Williams recently played in a tournament in Nashville organized by former NBA star Penny Hardaway. Among the wealth of talent in that tournament were current NBA players Thaddeus Young (76er’s) and Lester Hudson (Memphis Grizzlies). “I couldn’t believe how well he played against those guys. His basketball IQ is really high,” said Burton. “If given the chance Erv can make a lot of money playing basketball.”
But for now, Williams will be making money to play basketball games that he will never win. But he is alright with that, he knows the routine.