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Creighton Prep vs. Lincoln North Star, 3.7

Lincoln North Star’s Donovan Williams drives to the basket between Creighton Prep’s Akol Arop (left) and Spencer Schomers during a Class A first-round game in March at the boys state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Donovan Williams had a wide-open lane to the basket in his AAU game this past weekend in Arkansas, and when the Husker commit and Lincoln North Star standout landed after making the dunk, he instantly grabbed for the back of his left knee.

"I knew I hurt something, and that's when I thought it was the ACL," Williams told the Journal Star on Thursday. "The test the doctors did then, it didn't seem to hurt and they said my ACL seemed strong, so I canceled that out."

Williams, a 6-5 guard, found out earlier Thursday he did, in fact, tear the ACL in his left knee and will require surgery April 30. Williams said he will likely be on a seven-month recovery program with the hopes of being ready for his senior season at North Star.

"It's really hard right now; it's the most I have cried in awhile, thinking about the whole situation, how it happened," he said. "I have always been the type to fight through things and not let anything hold me back.

"This summer was going to be big for me, but with family and friends behind me, I'll hang in there."

Hoiberg reaches out to North Star standout and Husker recruit Donovan Williams

The future Husker said he talked with new Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg moments after learning the diagnosis. 

"He is still on board with me and he still has faith in me," Williams said. "We are meeting tomorrow and that's more to do with school, but they know what I can be."

As for having a coach who still believes in him despite the injury, "that feels really good, especially with today and these last couple of days, hardest day of my life hearing that news." 

During his junior season, Williams averaged 21 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while leading the Navigators to the Class A semifinals.

Williams had 30 or more points three times — 32 against Norfolk in early January, 36 in the overtime loss to Creighton Prep in late January and 30 in the district final victory over Kearney, a game in which he hit the game-winning three-pointer from the left wing with just over two seconds left.

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Online sports editor

Online sports editor for the Journal Star.

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