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De Smet basketball coach Williams going into Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame

By: Warren Mayes

De Smet basketball coach Kent Williams is going into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame.

Williams, who played at Southern Illinois University, and five fellow inductees will be honored when the league conducts its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony in St. Louis on Friday (March 8).

Kent Williams, seen here in his playing days in a game against Indiana, will be inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame. (Southern Illinois University photo)

The 22nd MVC Hall of Fame class features three basketball student-athletes in Kristi Cirone (Illinois State); Dolph Pulliam (Drake); and Williams; wrestling Olympian Bill Smith (UNI); a legendary track & field coach in John McNichols (Indiana State); and a longtime contributor to Bradley University athletics in Joe Stowell.

The league will conduct its annual Hall of Fame ceremony as part the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Championship this week.

Tickets to the 2019 Hall of Fame event – scheduled to be held at Stifel Theatre, which is adjacent to Enterprise Center – can be obtained by calling the league office at (314) 444-4300. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Friday festivities will begin with an 8 a.m. breakfast, followed by the induction ceremony at 8:30 a.m.

Williams, a 2003 SIU graduate, scored 2,012 points from 1999 to 2003, making him the Salukis’ second-leading scorer of all-time. He is the only player in SIU history to lead the team in scoring four straight years, helping his team to the NCAA Tournament 2002 and 2003, including a run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2002.

The Mt. Vernon, Ill., native, who is also the career scoring leader at his high school, was inducted into the SIU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

Williams was a first-team All-MVC (2002, 2003), and second-team Team All-MVC (2001) selection while earning MVC Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year (2000). A four year starter, the Salukis went 88-42 during his career which included an NIT appearance (2000) in addition to the two NCAA berths.

As a senior in 2003, he was runner-up to Creighton’s Kyle Korver for the Larry Bird Trophy, awarded to the top men’s basketball player.

Other honors for Williams include back-to-back selection to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team (2002, 2003), an MVC All-Tournament selection (2002) and a four-time MVC Player-of-the-Week recipient. He was the first-ever repeat winner of the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor (2002, 2003).

In addition to ranking second on the all-time SIU scoring chart, he is second in career 3-pointers made with 249, sixth in career 3-point percentage at .392, second in career free throws made with 479, eighth in career assists with 352, tops in career games started with 130 and the school’s record holder for most career minutes played.

Prior to coaching at De Smet, Williams had served as an assistant at SIU-Edwardsville, Tennessee, Missouri State and as a supervisor of basketball operations at Purdue.

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