Willis signs with The W’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2001

[04/18/01] Some colleges wanted E.J. Willis to be a walk on. Others left her dangling. In the end, she signed with the only one that gave her a scholarship.

Willis, the two-time Vicksburg Post Girls’ Player of the Year, signed a national letter of intent Tuesday to play basketball at the Mississippi University for Women.

“I went and I liked the campus. It was small and the people were nice,” the Porters Chapel Academy senior said. “It’s going to be different. It’s going to be hard. I think I’ll get to play a lot of the time though.”

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Willis had been waiting for an offer from Delta State, but it never came. She said she had talked to coaches at DSU, but their interest seemed to decline and “The W’s” offer of a four-year full scholarship wasn’t matched.

“I’m kind of disappointed in Delta State, but I’m happy with the choice I made,” Willis said.

Willis, a 5-foot-7 guard, finished her high school career with 3,222 points, believed to be a Warren County record. But because she attended a small school, most major programs shied away from her.

Louisiana-Monroe and Ole Miss wanted her to be a walk-on. Southern Mississippi simply sent her highlight tape back, saying they were looking for bigger players this year.

Division II MUW, which finished 11-15 last season, stuck by her.

“I think E.J. had her mind made up, and then a couple of other colleges called at the last minute,” said her father, Jesse Willis.

E.J. Willis’ brother and coach, Mitchell Willis, said he always knew his sister would play college ball. Mitchell taught her the game as a child, and the two have played against each other ever since.

“I didn’t know where she’d end up going, but I definitely knew she was good enough to play,” Mitchell Willis said.