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J. Williams progressing well

There were a variety of options from which senior guard Greivis Vasquez could have chosen Tuesday when discussing what has impressed him the most about the development of freshman forward Jordan Williams. Through the first 11 collegiate games of his career, Williams is averaging 8.2 points and a team-leading 8.0 rebounds per game. He is tied for the team lead in blocks (13). He has established himself as one of Maryland's more reliable players on a nightly basis.

But Vasquez chose to talk about how Williams handled being removed from the starting lineup after such a solid start to his freshman campaign. Williams was relegated to the bench for two games after junior forward Dino Gregory returned from an eight-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules. On Sunday, Williams was re-inserted into the starting lineup, and he'll likely remain there for the time being.

"I thought he did a great job being a freshman and, you know, understanding Dino’s situation and coming off the bench and now back in the starting lineup, I give him a lot of credit," Vasquez said. "You know, not everybody handles that situation the way he did."

Later on during his chat with reporters, Vasquez discussed the adjustments he had to make while getting used to Williams's massive presence (Williams is 6-10, 260 lbs.) on the court.

"I was thinking too much, to the point that I was giving excuses, and I’m not that type of person," Vasquez said. "I remember when somebody interviewed me and I say, ‘Oh, people is just congesting me. Every time I go to the paint, so many people there I can’t make it.’ That’s excuses. Obviously, it helps me that he’s playing for us because I’ve never had a big man. But Juan Dixon had Lonny Baxter. You know, they’re the same size; Lonny and Jordan are big. And Juan Dixon was still able to score and do all that stuff that he did when he was in college. How come I can’t do it? It was just me thinking too much and going through a tough lull mentally, so I love playing with him. I love him off the court. I have nothing bad to say about that kid because since he got on campus all he did was work and work and work, and he keeps working. I think he’s going to have a good career at Maryland."

Coach Gary Williams shares that opinion. He put Gregory back into the starting lineup immediately upon Gregory's return to the active roster, but after two games, the coach switched back to the player that provided a more consistently productive impact.

"I’ve always coached where you earn what you get," Gary Williams said. "I’ve always felt players force you to play them. You want to win games, so if a guy plays really good in practice, he’s got to get the opportunity to play in the game because that’s going to help you win games because he’s one of your best players. Jordan’s been one of our best players for a while, and it’s just a way to get him to make sure he gets his minutes by starting him.

'You know, Dino’s going to play probably as many minutes, but Jordan has played well for us. He’s rebounded for us. He’s given us a little bit of a scoring presence inside, and we need that. Plus he’s developing. He’s got a chance to be, you know, the top inside player in the ACC. We’re very happy with his progress so far, and, you know, as long as he continues to work hard, I think he’s got a pretty big top-side."

By Steve Yanda  |  December 30, 2009; 10:26 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Note to GV - Please do not invoke comparisions between you and Juan Dixon ever again....or at least until you get past the 2nd Round of the NCAAs.

Posted by: fushezzi | December 30, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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