Former Cards basketball star among winter UofL graduates - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Former Cards basketball star among winter UofL graduates

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Tony Williams Tony Williams
Tony Williams picked up his cap and gown on Wednesday. Tony Williams picked up his cap and gown on Wednesday.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In Louisville, basketball stars are etched in our memory and 13 years after one Card stopped playing college ball here, people still stop him on the street.

Tony Williams said that's part of the reason why he decided to make good on a promise to himself he made when he left. Thursday, he'll get his college degree.

"It's hard to have people look up to you, know who you are and ask you, 'Did you go to UofL, did you graduate from there?' and I'd say, 'Yeah,' when in the back of my mind I'm saying, 'No, didn't graduate from there,'" he said.

Williams left the Cards with more than 1,100 career points to play pro ball in Europe. "Ten years," he said. "I've lived in Italy four, France two, Turkey two and Lebanon just about two years."

He came home to Louisville almost two years ago with some unfinished business.

"I immediately enrolled in the University of Louisville because the way I left in 2000, my standing wasn't good," Williams said. "I was below a 2.0. I didn't leave the right way."

Three semesters plus a summer of hard work later, he returned to campus Wednesday to finish what he started, picking up his cap and gown.

"I knew that I would one day, but I'm sure that every athlete that leaves school to play pro says, 'Oh well I'll come back and get that one day,'" Williams said.

Putting his name on a degree in addition to a jersey is something he hopes will inspire those who look up to him now and in the future.

"My son, he's only five and the questions are coming and one day the questions are going to be, 'Did you graduate?' and I want to be able to tell him, 'Yeah, I did,'" he said.

Williams has raised his GPA by almost .07 during his second stint at UofL. He plans to continue his path as a head basketball coach.

Right now he's coaching at St. Francis School. His cheering section at graduation Thursday in the KFC Yum! Center will include some of his St. Francis team as well as a large group of family and former UK star and personal friend Derek Anderson, who Williams said is in town just for this.

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