Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams has had a little time on his hands to sit back and take in what occurred to his Terps squad in 2010-2011, and while he is already in gear for next season-hopefully with star Jordan Williams in the fold-he joined “The Morning Reaction” this week to give his thoughts on the Final Four from an outside perspective.
Williams-who has taken two Maryland teams to similar Final Four appearances in 2001 and 2002-joined Drew Forrester on Tuesday and said that each of these teams left in the tournament-from your major powerhouses like Kentucky and UConn and your newcomers in Butler and VCU-are here for a reason.
“I know that’s all the big part of it,” Williams said of how crazy this tournament has been given some of the upsets. “It’s all about how well you’re playing going in. Every once in awhile, you get one of those teams who just has one of the nights where they’re not shooting the ball well. But once the tournament is seeded, that doesn’t matter anymore. You need to win the game you’re playing.”
Williams had a ton of respect to throw toward two of his fellow coaching counterparts in Kentucky’s John Calipari and Jim Calhoun of Connecticut for leading yet another team to the Final Four, and the Maryland coach said that those two coaches in particular are the best of the best when it comes to getting that high level of play out of their players.
“Calhoun and Calipari first of all get their players to play,” Williams said. “The players they have in the program play really hard, and are very well coached.”
A lot of basketball fans and the media on the outside of the business may criticize a coach like Gary Williams for heralding coaches proven to be cheaters in the past, especially with Calipari who has vacated two previous Final Four appearances, but Williams said that it’s up to them to make their own opinions of what Jim Calhoun and John Calipari are and how forgiving they are of their past transgressions.
“People will get their own chance to make their own judgment,” Williams said. “I think that’s what important with the media. They just put it out there there-every part of it. The fact is, they are good coaches and people can judge that. They can decide whatever they want to about that situation.”
In the end, Williams said-it’s all about something special for the players, and that’s where the focus should remain.
“I think that the one thing for these young guys-and obviously I’m not a young guy anymore in this game-this game is a great game.”
And for one of those young guys in Terps center-forward Jordan Williams, who was the Terps best player in 2011 leading Maryland in scoring with 16.9 ppg and 11.8 rgg.
He set a single-season record with 25 double-doubles and broke longtime Maryland great Len Elmore’s record of straight double-doubles.
It was also announced Tuesday-immediately after Gary Williams joined “The Morning Reaction” that Jordan Williams had submitted his paperwork and applied for the 2011 NBA Draft, but as of this moment has not hired an agent, keeping his NCAA eligibility alive.
His coach addressed his potential interest in going pro after his sophomore year.
“Jordan, like a lot of guys, is looking at things,” Gary Williams said. “Other than that, that’s all he’s doing and he has every right to do that. It’s just an ongoing discussion, but he needs to do what’s best for him and his family.”
Williams compared Jordan’s situation to that of Greivis Vasquez a few years ago when he too probed his NBA draft status before deciding to come back for his senior year.
Williams said he wishes Jordan all the best in the NBA should he decide to go pro, but he also said that his star player should really think about his time in college as being several of the best years of a person’s life and an era that one shouldn’t pass up or take for granted.
“You only get four years in college, no matter how good you are,” Gary said. “If you’ve ever hung around the pros, once they go the play-no matter how successful they are in the NBA-they always talk about their college experience.”
“We had Kevin Durant in here playing pick-up games over the summer after his season was over. All he talked about was how much he enjoyed his one year at Texas…how he wished there was a way he could still play there. That’s a guy making a lot of money, but the college experience is unbelievable.”
Jordan Williams is a star at Maryland. In the pros, it will definitely take some time for him to get to that level again.
“When you go to the NBA, you’re not a star anymore. I’ve talked to Greivis a lot this year, and it’s really tough year for him because it’s lonely. You’re making good money, and that’s fine. But at the same time all your friends are here, and it’s dog-eat-dog out there. It’s like any other profession, you have to go hard everyday.”
WNST thanks Coach Gary Williams for joining Drew on “The Morning Reaction!” Check out his chat at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!