Local News

Benson Athlete Prepares to Hit the Paint in His Dream Dome

Posted June 22, 1999

— Every kid in North Carolina that has ever handled a basketball, has dreamed of playing on the floor of the Dean Smith Center.

For one Benson teen, that dream is coming true. Next week, he will get to live out his round-ball fantasy at theSpecial Olympics World Games.

Phillip Williamson, 13, has a 6-foot tall frame that sprouts off of size 14 feet.

The big guy is one of the youngest members of theSpecial Olympics Team USA North Carolinabasketball team.

When Williamson is not practicing with the other nine members of Team USA, his mom steps in with some expert coaching.

"I played center on the basketball team in high school in Wayne County," she said.

Williamson's father taught him how to deal with the pressure of the big game.

"Some basketball players just like to go out on the court and close their eyes and pray that they can win the game," Aubrey Williamson said, "and that is probably what I will do when I get out there on the court. I'll pray that I won't be nervous."

Williamson is not just the head of his son's spirit squad. He also leads the spiritual squad.

"I'm very proud to hear him say that he is going to rely upon the Lord for his strength, because we get a lot of strength from him," he said. "And I am sure God is going to prepare him mentally and physically."

Phillip Williamson is already pumped up about playing on the floor of the Dean Dome, home of his favorite college basketball team.

"And I am going up there to the Dean Smith Center and play my very best," he said, "and I am going to be on that big court where thousands and thousands of seats are going to be, and Team USA is going to be there playing basketball."

Team USA's basketball team will likely see its first competition this weekend as teams are divided into skill levels. Medal rounds in basketball start next Friday.

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