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Versatile forward expected to contribute early for Gators

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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:19 pm

Expectations for incoming freshman Ronni Williams could not be higher.

Williams, who was the top-ranked recruit from the state of Florida in the Class of 2013 according to ESPN, is the Gators’ first signee to be named a McDonald’s All-American.

She is also the highest-rated recruit signed in program history.

A lot of hype surrounds Williams. According to her coach and teammates, it is merited.

“She has been fantastic,” coach Amanda Butler said. “As a freshman, she’s already established herself as a very important person on this team.”

Entering her first offseason at UF, Williams was poised to make a significant impact because of Florida’s limited roster of only 10 players.

But with Viktorija Dimaite out for the season after suffering an ACL injury, Williams will be given even more responsibility. She will split time at center with sophomore Christin Mercer.

“I expect it to go very well,” Williams said. “It’s nothing new.”

Added Mercer: “Ronni, I would say, is going to make a huge impact because she is a great attacker like I am.”

Williams fits the offensive scheme Butler is employing this season. With an added emphasis on speed and the transition game, Williams fits in well.

“What I’ve seen so far is that we’ve been very consistent,” Williams said. “We’re hard workers. I don’t think anybody works as hard as we do. We get after it and we get at it and we get it done.”

Listed as a forward, Williams is versatile enough to excel at any position on the floor.

In high school, she recorded 25 rebounds in a single game during her sophomore year, scored 45 points in another game during her junior year and tallied 93 blocks during her senior season.

When asked what aspect of the game is her biggest strength, Williams responded: “I like to drive a lot. I attack the basket.”

What impresses Butler the most is the way Williams adjusts to the game and accepts criticism.

“The thing that’s been so amazing about Ronni is not the level of talent and the high level at which she’s already able to play,” Butler said.

“She’s so eager, so coachable, and just so easily makes adjustments whether it be in practice or off the court. I’ve been really proud of the spirit and energy of a player who is that talented and highly touted.”

Follow Gordon Streisand on Twitter @GordonStreisand.

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