ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - As he walks to class each day on UCF's pristine campus, Matt Williams enjoys an environment that seems like a world away from the neighborhood where he was grew up. Except Carver Shores in northwest Orlando, with its high crime rate and poverty, is only 30 minutes away from UCF.
Armed with focus and discipline off the court, Williams has his neighborhood on the top of his mind as he embarks on his college career. The freshman is taking advantage of the many resources offered to help UCF student-athletes excel academically.
"Coming from high school to college has been a big transition," Williams said. "In high school, academics were important, but they were not stressed as much as they are in college. Here we have academic advisors and coaches all making sure that we stay on top of our classwork. It is great to know that they are here to help."
Williams, who starred on the court at Jones High School, joined his UCF teammates for the final summer school session, which gave the guard an early opportunity to juggle basketball workouts and academics.
"The summer was very beneficial. It prepped us for how it was going to be during the school year," he said.
Williams, who attributes his determination academically to his parents, is majoring in journalism and hopes to use his degree to give back to Carver Shores. He wants to write children's books to motivate youngsters in the neighborhood.
"Where I come from, there are little kids without both parents in their lives. I just want to help them."
And by utilizing the resources offered to him at UCF, Williams is well on his way to giving back to those in his neighborhood.
This story appears in the November issue of Knights Insider magazine. The publication, which is published six times per year, provides an inside look at UCF student-athletes, coaches and alums. To order the magazine, click here.