For the entirety of his freshman season at Kansas State, he went by three names: Shaun Neal-Williams. But after the men’s basketball team updated its roster following the end of last season, “Neal” was conspicuously missing.
Williams, a sophomore guard from St. Louis, said there wasn’t any sordid backstory as to why he dropped the name, and the hyphen. In a sense, he just went back to his old self.
“It just sounds better to me,” Williams told The Mercury at the team’s media day event Wednesday. “As a kid, I always went by ‘Shaun Williams.’ I never put ‘Neal-Williams’ on it until last year.”
Using the names stemmed from a yearning to represent both his father’s (Kenneth Williams) and his mother’s (Dana Neal) roots. For the foreseeable future, Williams is remaining true to his roots, too, by sporting only one surname.
“It just sounds better,” he said. “I think I’ll stick with it.”
But in doing so, there might be some consequences at home.
“I actually haven’t told my mom yet,” he said. “It’s probably going to be a big surprise for her.”
Williams then quickly added that he hoped it wouldn’t be a big deal once his mother learns of his decision. She’ll understand.
“She knows why (I did it),” Williams said with a smile. “She knows.”