Trojans play first game Saturday
Fred Jeter | 3/11/2016, 1:11 p.m.
Famed UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden traveled cross country long ago to tiny Franklinton, N.C., population 2,023, to sign Henry Bibby.
The standout guard proceeded to help Coach Wooden’s Bruins to NCAA titles in 1970, 1971 and 1972.
Now another Franklinton athlete, Kevin “Roc” Williams, is in the NCAA basketball headlines.
Williams, who was most valuable player of the 2016 CIAA tournament, is a leading light for Coach Lonnie Blow’s CIAA champion Virginia State University Trojans.
The Trojans, 23-5 and winners of 12 of their last 13 outings, are traveling to Wheeling, W.Va., for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region competition that starts Saturday, March 12.
As the No. 6 seed, VSU has drawn No. 3 Fairmont State University in Fairmont, W.Va., in the quarterfinal at noon Saturday, March 12.
Fairmont is 25-4, and lost to Notre Dame College of Ohio in the quarterfinals of the rugged Mountain East Conference.
The winner of the VSU-Fairmont game will play the winner of the Concord University-West Liberty University matchup, both from West Virginia, on Sunday, March 13.
For VSU to advance, the Trojans will need continued exceptional play from Williams, who averages 14.8 points and 4.2 rebounds.
The 5-foot-10 junior leads the team in 3-pointers with 52 and in foul shooting, 83 percent.
Williams has heard many stories about Bibby, who attended Franklinton’s Person-Albion High School.
“I don’t know how often he’s there, but Henry Bibby owns the biggest house in Franklinton,” said Williams.
Bibby’s brother, Fred Bibby, was a longtime coach and educator at Richmond’s John Marshall High School.
VSU hasn’t played since defeating Livingstone College Feb. 27 at the CIAA finals in Charlotte, N.C. The only other HBCU in the 64-team field is SIAC champion Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.