Xavier University welcomes new head basketball coach

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) -- Xavier University's new head men's basketball coach, Alfred "AJ" Williams, is no stranger to the Gold Rush.

"When Mama calls, you have to go home. Xavier called, and I had to come home," Williams said.

Williams played three seasons with Xavier. He's one of just three Gold Rush players with 800 points, 500 rebounds, and 150 assists in a career. He was also a Xavier assistant coach for six seasons. Now, the 32 year old is the head of a program that's had a school record six consecutive appearances at the NAIA National Tournament.

"We've done a lot of things already, but there's still things to be done. We haven't won a conference championship in over 20 years. That's an aspiration of ours that we definitely want to achieve. Being able to get to nationals and winning," he said.

Last season, in his only year as head coach at Harris-Stowe State University, he led the Hornets to a 7 1/2 game improvement from the previous year. He's striving to bring more success to his alma mater.

"We want to play aggressive offensively and defensively. We want to be one of the top defensive teams in the nation and also by us being aggressive defensively, we want to get stops and get out and run," he said.

Williams said he will recruit athletes who mirror his playing style, which include being tough, gritty,  and having a high basketball IQ.

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