With Dino back, a changing dynamic?
Although junior forward Dino Gregory did not play during the first month of the season due to an unspecified violation of team rules, Coach Gary Williams mentioned several times the positive impact Gregory was having on the development of freshmen forwards Jordan Williams and James Padgett in practice.
Gregory returned to the lineup Dec. 12 against Eastern Kentucky and played 33 minutes. Gary Williams said he "wanted to play (Gregory) as many minutes as I could just to get over that part of just playing in a game again, even though he played last year." Regardless, more minutes for Gregory meant fewer minutes for Jordan Williams and Padgett.
Jordan Williams, who had started in Gregory's place during the suspension, played nine minutes against Eastern Kentucky, while Padgett did not play at all. And so Gary Williams was asked Monday whether the dynamic between Gregory and the freshman duo had altered at all now that the three forwards are competing against each other for playing time.
Gary Williams initially joked that Gregory had begun fouling Jordan Williams and Padgett every chance he got during practice, but then proceded to note Gregory was secure enough in his abilities that his attitude toward developing the two freshmen had not changed.
"When you’ve established yourself on your team, you’ve created a spot for yourself, and if you think you’re a good player, if you have the confidence that you’re a good player, you’re not intimidated by anybody coming into the program," Gary Williams said. "And that’s why you’ll see a great player go to a program that has five starters coming back into that program, but yet he knows he’s going to play because he’s a great player. You have to have that in your veteran players, the Sean Mosleys, the Vasquezes, the guys like that, Eric Hayes, they know they’re going to play and so their job is to get everybody playing well so that we can be the best possible team."
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