Despite having a well-known rapper as a father, Tekomin Williams didn’t follow that path.
“That’s just not me,” said Williams, who is in his third year on the Virginia Peninsula Community College men’s basketball team.
His father, one of the founding members of the hip hop duo Smif-N-Wessun, understands.
“Me and him talk about it all the time. He can't see himself being a basketball player. I can't see myself being a rapper,” Williams said. “Two different avenues and lanes. We both see the world of life through different lenses.”
When he was a kid in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tekomin (pronounced Tek-omen) created beats and rapped on his phone, but nothing more. It didn’t occur to him until he was older that his father was famous.
“Growing up … I really didn't care too much about who he was. He was just my father to me,” Williams said. “As I got older, people started to say, ‘Oh that’s your pops.’”
That was when Williams realized people loved his father and listened to his music.
Williams’ first love, though, was football. But soon after he and his family moved to Virginia, a friend introduced him to basketball. He was 13 or 14 at the time. He attended Princess Anne High School and then Atlantic Shores Christian School, graduating in 2020. He played basketball at both schools, and a former coach mentioned VPCC to him.
He has grown a lot in his time at the College, as a person and athlete.
“My experience here has been really one for the books, a lot of up-and-down moments, trying to figure out who I am as a person, as a man, as a basketball player,” he said.
It took time, though, for him to settle into the basketball aspect.
“When I first got here to the program … I wasn’t too sure about it,” he said. “I came from a private school, a closed program. This was very open.”
The atmosphere is welcoming, he said, and the athletes blend into the college community, making it feel like a family.
“They don’t (say) ‘Oh, you play sports so you’re over here.’ Or ‘You do school so you’re over here.’ It is just one big family, just trying to help the next person grow as a community.”
Chris Moore, the College’s athletics director and men’s basketball coach, has seen a lot of growth from Williams in their three years together.
“His first year here, he was a redshirt, so he was doing all the dirty work, whatever was needed, and he practiced every day,” Moore said. “Last year, he didn’t get much (playing) time, but he sat there and waited his time.”
This season, Williams is on the court more and earned his first start Dec. 16 against Monroe College of the Bronx.
“That, to me, was special,” Moore said.
It’s even more impressive, Moore noted, because Williams is the shortest player on the team at about 5-foot-4, and height normally matters in basketball.
“He’s been able to make the most of his opportunities,” Moore said. “Whether it’s two minutes or if it’s 20 minutes, you never get anything different from him.”
Williams has scored in double figures in a few games, but he sees himself more of a senior leader, not an offensive weapon, even though offense is his favorite aspect of the sport.
“My role on this team is to be that veteran, be the captain, be that ear a lot of young guys need,” said Williams, one of the most vocal players in games and practices. “A lot of teams don't really have that. That’s why a lot of teams struggle. I feel like I could be someone the coaches can trust, be that voice in the locker room, ‘He's been here before. If I follow and listen to him, then I can be successful just like him.’”
Williams said, as with most college kids, it takes time for some to be receptive of that and follow through, but he has seen growth on the team.
Moore has noticed Williams’ leadership.
“Tek, as we call him, is just a selfless individual, always team first, willing to do whatever he can for the betterment of the team,” said the coach.
He is someone who shows up and works hard every day.
“I know what I’m going to get from him,” Moore said. “He does all the little things you ask him to do.”
Moore said he jokes with Williams about his height, saying if he were 5-9 or 5-10, he would be on the court 30 minutes a game.
“He knows that,” Moore said, adding that doesn’t change Williams’ approach or affect his work ethic. “Just somebody that works so hard and does so much.”
Williams will graduate in May with a degree in social science. He started as a business management major, but switched, extending his time at the College.
“I can't wait to graduate, can't wait to see that look on my mom and dad's face, my teammates face that I did it,” he said. “I can finally say I did it and go on to my next avenue and journey.”
He hopes that involves basketball, possibly playing at a four-year institution, but definitely passing along his love and knowledge of the game.
“I want to be a coach. I want to help the youth,” he said. “I just want to give back to the game as much as the game gave to me.”
Moore said Williams would be a great coach.
“Tek probably has one of the highest IQs on the team,” Moore said. “He knows how to do all the right things. He knows where he’s supposed to be.”
But Moore thinks Williams could go beyond coaching into leadership as an athletic director or general manager, but his character strengths translate to any field.
“If he wants to start his own business,” Moore said. “He just has an incredible work ethic.”
Williams hasn’t decided where he will continue his education.
“I really want to go to a place that’s going to cherish who I am, the background I came from, where I would be able to be the best me I can be,” he said. “I just want to go where they want you to be the best person that you can be on and off the court.”
Moore said he will miss Williams, but is going to make the most of the next few months with him.
“I’m just hoping that I can work my tail off and get him to where he’s trying to go as his next stop,” Moore said.
The Gators’ game scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 6, at Mountain Gateway was postponed. This week, they face Sandhills Community College on Jan. 13 and Emory Oxford College on Jan. 14. Both games are at the Sandhills campus in Pinehurst, N.C.
The women’s home game scheduled for Jan. 7 against Central Carolina Community College also was postponed. The Gators play again Saturday, Jan. 13, vs. Frederick Community College at Warwick High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
For more on VPCC athletics, visit www.vpcc.edu.