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Adjusting to the college game

A short while ago, near the end of Maryland Coach Gary Williams's segment on the weekly ACC coaches' teleconference, Williams was asked to discuss the development of freshman forward Jordan Williams. Through the first 13 games of his collegiate career, Jordan Williams is averaging 8.0 points and a team-leading 8.2 rebounds per game. He also has tallied a team-leading 15 blocks.

Gary Williams expressed the same sentiment he's been voicing with local reporters for months -- that overall he's been pleased with Jordan Williams's work ethic and progress. In a follow-up, Gary Williams was asked whether he felt it is more difficult for a big man to make a quick adjustment to the Division 1 college game than it is for a young perimeter player.

"I used to think the other way around, and I think I'm wrong now, Gary Williams said. "I really think maybe the way the game's called has something to do with that. There's a lot more contact inside that officials look at as equal contact, and so the guy goes up for a shot, he gets bumped a little bit and he still has to make it to get points. You don't get to the foul line quite as easy as you used to maybe, and with the hand-checking on the perimeter, now if you have a guard that can break people down -- and he doesn't have to be big; he can be one of those 5-10 guys that's really quick -- it's hard to defend those guys with just one player because of the way the game is called on the perimeter, so there's adjustments. There's always adjustments in the game as time goes by, and these are the things that inside players do."

While Jordan Williams has shown flashes of his offensive potential, most people who've watched him play this season would say his defensive and rebounding ability are farther along at this point than are his offensive skills. That such would be the case for a freshman post player, Gary Williams said, might in part be a by-product of the evolution of offensive play in general.

"The other thing is a lot of teams now play for the three-point shot, rather than play a power game -- the dribble-penetration, kick for the three, screen and roll, kick for the three or take the ball to the basket -- so there's not as much offense going inside," Gary Williams said. "I don't know if that has anything to do with it either of making it tougher when you do have an inside player ... Jordan is one of those players that is content on being a back-to-the-basket player, which is kind of unusual today, and I like having him on the team because of that. Because it gives us another way to score, and as time goes by I think he's going to be a very effective scorer in the ACC, but it might take a while."

By Steve Yanda  |  January 4, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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