Two basketball players at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff have made school history through their achievements with the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Get the full story from Desmond Nugent at local station KATV below.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is celebrating a historic feat. Officials told KATV for the first time in school history, a basketball player from both the men’s and women’s team were named Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Newcomer player of the year.

Both Golden Lions, Zaay Green and Shawn Williams were also selected SWAC first-team all conference.

Williams is a Little Rock native always believed he could accomplish many things on the basketball court, and is very grateful for the recent acknowledgement.

“I been knew that I perform, I just needed the platform and I did it. We didn’t get the wins but I showed that I can perform at the next level,” Williams said.

Williams is guard for the UAPB Men’s Basketball team. In the 2021-2022 season, he averaged nearly 17 points a game. Williams also scored 25 points, three games in a row, and two 30-point games towards the end of season.

“Looking back at it, I’m a part of a legacy, like my grandmomma my big momma used to always talk about Pine Bluff,” Williams said.

Along with Williams who made Golden Lions history, Texas A&M transfer Zaay Green also had a stellar season.

The McDonald’s All-American averaged nearly 16 points per game with a season high of 31 points.

“We’re actually winning and so people are going to respect UAPB since we’re winning,” Green said.

According to Green, it was challenge transferring from a Power 5 school to an HBCU, but she she told KATV it’s a decision she hopes other players in position will pursue.

“Always bet on yourself and you never know what can happen, it was hard for me to make this transition,” she said. “I feel like a lot of people think about that, but once they do it I feel like they’ll be fine.”

UAPB Director of athletics, Chris Robinson said the success of both players shows Historical Black Colleges and Universities are on the rise.

“It goes to show that you can go anywhere you want to go, you can receive the credit you deserve by coming to an HBCU, specifically UAPB as well,” Robinson said.

Williams and Green believe their success could provide the momentum to propel the Golden Lions basketball teams for years to come. They both hope their talents can carry them to have a career in professional basketball.