When freshman Tori Williams, of the University of Utah women’s basketball team, was figuring out what she wanted to major in, becoming an orthopedician was the first thing that popped into her head. Besides her desire to want to help others, she had a personal experience that influenced her decision.
“I have scoliosis so my doctor and I became really close,” Williams said. “I got really interested in my back and how everything happened so I always asked him tons of questions. We were literally best friends because I would always have to go in and see him so that just really caught my attention.”
When it came time for her to decide where to go to college to pursue basketball and her studies, it was like a home away from home for Williams when she thought of Utah.
Growing up in Boise, Idaho, Williams said Utah was a perfect place to go to school because it wasn’t too far away — only a four hour car ride — making it ideal for her friends and family to come and watch her play whenever they wanted. More than that, Williams said, it was the safe atmosphere that Utah provides that stuck with her.
“It’s a super safe place,” Williams said. “I feel safe when I’m here. I can just go out downtown and walk by myself and still feel like I am safe … Utah just has a very friendly, safe atmosphere. Same with the school.”
It was also the team dynamic that stood out to Williams, and she wanted to be a part of that. The family feel of the team and the way they all act around each other is something Williams believes she wouldn’t find anywhere else. The Utes don’t only hang out with each other during practices, gamedays and in the locker rooms, but they also attend football games and have dinner nights together. For Williams, her teammates are her sisters, not only on the court but off it as well.
In her first year as a collegiate athlete, head coach Lynne Roberts said Williams has been a positive surprise so far. Williams was a highly-recruited player out of high school, and she was rated top-25 in the country in her position by ESPN. Roberts knew she was a strong player, but she was afraid that like some freshmen, Williams would take a while before she started showing her potential, but that hasn’t been the case.
“Tori stepped on the campus and has been great ever since,” Roberts said. “She is still a freshman so there still is a learning curve, but she is making baskets and making plays and not playing like a freshman.”
Roberts wants to see Williams make an impact this season. She doesn’t know how much playing time Williams will get, but she knows she will see action on the court and when she does, Roberts is looking for her to make a statement.
“She can do that by making shots. I think she is our best shooter right now,” Roberts said. “If she can make an impact as a freshman at a Pac-12 school, it means she will be pretty dang good.”