Dover-Eyota grad ends career as national champion with Minnesota State, Mankato

Apr. 3—Brady Williams couldn't have asked for his final college men's basketball game to be any more memorable or dramatic.

Williams, a Dover-Eoyta grad, is a 6-foot-7 forward for the Minnesota State University, Mankato men's basketball team. The Mavericks won the NCAA Division II national championship this past Saturday with an exciting 88-85 victory against Nova Southeastern University in Evansville, Ind. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Nova was the defending national champion.

With the score tied at 85-85, Kyreese Willingham of Waseca took a pass from his brother, Malik, and hit a clutch 3-point shot from the corner with just eight-tenths of a second remaining to give the Mavericks their first national title in men's basketball.

"Kyreese hit a massive shot that we all know he'll never forget," Williams said. "That was a big-time shot from a big-time player right there."

The Minnesota State, Mankato women's basketball team won the Division II national championship just one day before the men's team did.

Williams played a big role during the men's championship game. He was a key reserve for the Mavericks all season and played a lot in the title game due to the team's foul trouble. He was also used a number of times to bring the ball up the court against Nova's full-court press.

"We didn't know what to expect from their press," Williams said. "They mixed up a lot of different things."

Williams finished the game with five points as he was 5-for-7 at the line to go along with three rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots in 19 minutes. He said the closing minutes of the game were very tense.

"I'd say all of us were really nervous and wanted this really bad," he said. "The women's team won (the national championship) so we all wanted a double-double, men's and women's national championships. So there was a little pressure there."

Williams was not on the court when Kyreese Willingham hit the game-winning shot. He did enter to in-bound the ball on the final play after Nova threw the ball away, still with eight-tenths of a second remaining.

Williams said he really cherishes the experience, but admits it's going to take a while for him to appreciate what the team has accomplished.

"It means the world to me," Williams said. "The guys I've played with, the teammates, the coaches, the staff, the trainers, just everyone has been top notch for me there. To go out like this is such an unbelievable experience."

Williams had a number of family members attend the championship game including his mother and father, stepfather, two siblings and both sets of grandparents. He also had some friends from high school and a former high school coach on hand.

"It's been an awesome experience just knowing that teammates, friends and coaches from a small community, Eyota and Dover, have my back even four years after graduating high school," he said.

The Mavericks finished their memorable season 35-2. Williams played in 35 games and averaged 6.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He scored 14 points and had five rebounds in a 79-72 win against West Texas A&M in the national semifinals.

He has a year of eligibility remaining, but is graduating in May with a nursing degree and he plans to join the workforce.

"Going to hop right into the field," Williams said. "The body is kind of telling me 'This has been enough.' I played my four years and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet, but it's such a surreal feeling of going out on top," he added.

Guy N. Limbeck is a sports writer for the Post Bulletin. His Local Notebook appears each Tuesday. He can be reached at