Allec Williams is always up for a challenge.
A native of Albany, Georgia, Williams went to Metro State Denver just to get away from home. He then came to South Dakota School of Mines to get an engineering degree.
Ultimately, he wants to be an all conference player and lead the Hardrockers to the top of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings.
"I was a little hesitate at first coming to South Dakota, because, you know, it's cold," he said with a grin. "But then I thought it was something I could deal with. It will be a different experience in my life, so when I look back, and when I grow up, I can say, 'I did this, I didn't shy away from it.'
"And I feel like I perform better under pressure. I felt like an engineering degree would be harder to achieve that a regular degree."
Transferring after two seasons at MSU-Denver, Williams had an up-and-down start, scoring 19 points against Texas A&M-Kingsville in the season opener, but he was averaging under double digits in scoring until last weekend, when he scored 16 points against Colorado Mesa and then poured in 31 points in the win over Western State Colorado.
The slim 5-foot-10 junior calls himself a pass-first point guard who just so happens to be able to score.
"I'm a firm believer in what Coach (Eric) Glenn says that in the law of averages, everything will end up balancing out," said Williams, who is averaging 11.0 points a game and 3.8 assists per contest. "I feel if I have a bad game, I shouldn't worry about it too much as a good game is down the road."
Glenn said they are excited to have Williams at Mines.
"He obviously gives us things basketball-wise that we haven't had in a point guard as far as his quickness," he said. "But he is also a really good young man. We're happy that he is here. It's a great situation for him, academically a great fit. He fits in well with our locker room and with our guys."
Glenn said they knew Williams had the scoring ability, as during his freshman season playing in place of the injured starter, he scored 23 points in the win over the Hardrockers. He also scored 14 points against Mines in their other meeting.
"Our game plan was to lay off of him and he made us pay," Glenn said. "When we knew he was looking for another school, we knew he was capable of doing that."
The Hardrockers are 3-4 in RMAC play and 6-9 overall as they host Regis and Colorado Christian this weekend. Williams said they have had some bright spots and they've had some dull moments too. But he feels like they are coming along and will peek at the right time.
"What most people don't realize is we only have two seniors," he said. "A majority of our scoring and assists are coming from guys who will be here next year and the year after that. We're still work in progress."
Williams said one of the reasons he accepts challenges is to become his own person, which is why he left Georgia for Colorado after high school.
"I'm a man, so I have to be independent at some point," he said. "You don't want to get too far down the road and say, 'Oh, I hadn't learned how to do this, I hadn't learned how to do that.' I can learn it now."
He said that while he was looking for another challenge, he hadn't thought about coming up here until Glenn called him.
"When he called me, I was like, 'We went to South Dakota and it wasn't that bad of a trip; it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, and the people were nicer than I thought they would be. The city was bigger than I thought it was,'" he said.
"I took a chance and I'm liking it."
The Mines men will host Regis University tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Colorado Christian Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Both teams will be at Black Hills State University as well.
Regis is 8-5 overall and fifth in the RMAC standings (5-2). Jarrett Brodbeck leads the Rangers averaging 18.1 per game and is the RMAC's fifth leading scorer with 235 total markers. Teammate Christian Little is averaging 15.8 and leads the team with 3.5 assists per game.
Colorado Christian is 2-11 on the year, and heads into the weekend on the bottom of the RMAC with a 0-7. Jeremiah Hanson is averaging 13.5 per game and Braxton Tucker leads the team with 13.6 points per game.
Mines has four players averaging 10-plus points a game. Mitchell Sueker leads the way at 12.3 ppg., followed by Logan Elers at 11.3 ppg., Williams at 11 ppg. and Troy Brady at 10.5.
The Mines women also host Regis (5:30 p.m.) and Colorado Christian (3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Lady Rangers are 7-5 on the season and sit in ninth place in the RMAC standings with a 3-4 mark. Majestie Robinson leads the Rangers at 13.3 points per game.
Colorado Christian heads into the weekend with 6-7 overall record this season and are sixth in the RMAC standings with a 4-3 record. Senior guard Jordan Baer is the RMAC's second leading scorer averaging 19.9 points per game.
The 'Rockers enter weekend play with a 1-6 RMAC record and 4-7 overall mark.
Senior Taylor Molstad leads the Hardrockers, scoring 10 points a game while Sami Steffeck is averaging 8.5 ppg. and Cooper Courtney at 8.2 ppg. Anna Haugen paces the squad in rebounds, pulling down 7.5 rpg.
In Spearfish, the Black Hills State men are 6-1 in league play and 7-4 overall. The Jackets are led by Fraser Malcom at 15.4 points and 5.2 rebounds a game, followed by Tyler Oliver at at 11.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, Dez Stoudamire at 10.7 points and Connor O'Hearn at 9.9 points a game.
The BHSU women are 5-2 and 9-2 and are led by Morgan Ham at 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Julia Seamans is scoring 11.7 points a game, Lyndzi Rich at 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds a game and Raquel Wientjes at 8.7 points a game.