‘Big Cozy:’ After viral play, basketball player Connor Williams use platform for charity

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — Connor Williams, the St. John Fisher center who caught the attention of sports fans across the nation last week, is now working on merchandise for charity.

He’s been on the mend for a rolled ankle he sustained during the viral play, but he’s also been busy rolling out T-shirts and a merchandise shop on Instagram for gear featuring the nickname he gained during his first year at Fisher: “Big Cozy.”

“After all these messages, I figure I would give [the people] something that they want,” he said. “My family and I talked about it, and while it’s great for me to make something out of it, we also thought it was really important to find a way to give back to the community that I grew up in, and got me to where I am today.”

As such, $5 of every T-shirt and sweater sale — which Williams noted in the comments of his Instagram post, does have larger sizes — go to Primetime, a local non-profit that helps basketball players, but also gives back with regular charity events, fundraisers, givebacks, and free basketball camps.

“They are always at our games, promoting us, promoting all of Rochester,” he said. “They’re shining a light on all of Section V, so I thought that was the right place to do it.”

As for the name on the merchandise

“I got the nickname at the start of the basketball season, and people just like that one,” he said. “I think it’s funny, my family liked it, and my friends liked it, so I figured that was the one to go with. I liked it a lot, it made sense.”

As for sales, Williams sheepishly admitted that he hasn’t checked yet.

The co-founder of Primetime, Karen Iglesia, has known Connor for years and holds a special bond with him.

“He is just a nice kid who has always been kind, responding and appreciative,” Iglesia said. “‘Big Cozy'” is so him! He is literally a big kid who is the most gentle a person you will meet.”

Primetime 585 prides itself on being the bridge between sports and those who are less fortunate. They utilize their platform to bring communities together.

When Connor approached Primetime with the idea of selling merchandize, Iglesia was blown away.

“Shocked and humbled that an 18-year-old thinks enough about others when he could keep all the money to himself,” Iglesia said. “Connor is from a solid family who had taught us to advocate for our own child, who people might look at as different.”  

BACKGROUND

The now-viral clip shows the 7ft, 360lbs Williams running down the court, tripping on an opposing player, and hurting his ankle before coming up to make a sweet pass to forward Dan Cook, whom Williams calls one of the best players in Division III.

“The second one, the one where I fell over, we just came out of a timeout, and we knew we were going to run the play,” Williams said. “I knew it was coming, I stepped on the kid’s foot, I fell, it hurt, but I knew I had to get up and make this pass … I hoped that we could get the play and get a time out or something to get me out, because I couldn’t run.”

“I thought it was funny, because everyone was raving over how good of a pass it was, but it’s not even close to one of the better passes I’ve had,” he said.

Williams is in his first year at Fisher, currently majoring in cybersecurity while maintaining a grueling schedule of a student athlete.

As he was coming out of high school, Williams was deciding between football, at a Division II level, and basketball.

“I really love basketball more and I think that would be a better fit for me for the next four years and I want to do that,” Williams said when News 8 interviewed the Victor standout in March of this year.

Back in March, his coach at Victor, Tyler Roberts, lauded Williams for his skill, calling him a gifted passer, and how his presence felt as though their was another coach on the court.

“I was younger, even up until now, I never liked playing with people who wouldn’t pass the ball,” he said. “It’s always frustrating, whether you’re the best player or the worst player, whatever — when you ballhog, it’s really frustrating to the rest of the team,” he said.

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