Most of the time college and NBA analysts disagree, but there is one thing that most can garner a consensus about: the fact that rebounding is usually the skill that translates best from college to the pros. With that being true, former Maryland forward Jordan Williams is in great shape. Williams established himself as one of nation’s best rebounders as a freshman in 2009-10 as the second-leading rebounder in the ACC. This past year he averaged over 11 rebounds per game, good enough for third in the nation, to go along with 16 points for the Terrapins. I caught up with Williams at the Nets’ workouts last week to talk about rebounding, Greivis Vasquez and McDonald’s.
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Dime: You were one of the few players in the country to average a double-double this year. Talk about that accomplishment.
Jordan Williams: It is definitely a huge accomplishment. I went into every game trying to get every rebound. I knew the points would come if I got rebounds so I wanted to continue to rebound. I wanted to be consistent every game as well and I did that which is why I was able to averaged a double-double.
Dime: What makes you such a good rebounder?
JW: I think I’m just very tenacious. I like to get after it on the boards, touch the ball at every opportunity, and I put myself in the right position to do that.
Dime: Your freshman year you were a role player while you were the star this past year. Talk about that transition.
JW: It was tough, but I was also ready for it. I had a great player on my team my freshman year in Greivis Vasquez who really led the way for me and put me in the right position to lead a team. He led by example and showed me how to do it and I followed his lead.
Dime: Did you watch Greivis at all in the playoffs?
JW: Absolutely. I don’t care what anybody says but that three he hit against Oklahoma City to force double overtime was lucky so I mess with him all the time about that. But he’s a great player, a hard worker, and he’s a winner. He’s just an all-around great guy.
Dime: So Greivis usually doesn’t shoot that well?
JW: (laughs) Oh no, no, no, Greivis is definitely a great shooter, but that lob he threw up that was definitely just lucky. He’s a great shooter though and works really hard on his shot.
Dime: Have you talked to him throughout this process at all? Has he given you any advice?
JW: Yes, he has. The main thing he emphasized to me was that this process is not easy and if I thought it was going to be easy to get that out of my head. It’s a tough league, it’s all business, it doesn’t matter how you feel, but just play hard and work hard, so that’s what I’ve been doing.
Dime: After the season you left school to train in Las Vegas. When you went out there did you go out there with the mindset you wouldn’t be going back to Maryland? Or did you really think you would be coming back to campus?
JW: My mindset was to come back to Maryland when I left for Vegas. I wanted to go out there for a couple of months then come back and take summer classes. When I got out there I started to really build up my confidence, and it made my want to go to the League right away.
Dime: Who did you work out with in Vegas?
JW: There were a lot of great players out there. Josh Selby, Gilbert Brown from Pitt, Jacob Pullen from Kansas State, Alec Burks from Colorado, and a couple other guys were all out there.
Dime: Did playing against those guys make you realize “I’m ready,” and that you could make the jump?
JW: Absolutely. When you play against great guys every single day and you are able to get points and gets rebounds like you did in college then it definitely builds up your confidence.
Dime: Talk about the impact Gary Williams had on you during your two seasons at College Park.
JW: He is a great, great coach. He is a great teacher and also a great person off the court to talk to. He was always available to us and his door was always open so I really appreciated that.
Dime: What was the toughest place to play in the ACC?
JW: It kills me to say this but I have to say Duke. They are a great crowd, it’s a very hostile environment there. They didn’t beat me up too much though even last year when Greivis was gone. It’s a really small gym so it’s gets very loud and crazy in there.
Dime: What’s the most creative sign or chant you’ve heard about you?
JW: When we went to Penn State they were saying a whole bunch of stuff. Every time I went to the free throw line they would just chant fat like “Fat! Fat! Fat!” so that was pretty creative and they told me that I knew the location of every McDonald’s in College Park.
Dime: Talk about the weight loss, are you feeling better now?
JW: I definitely am. It has certainly helped my game a lot and makes the game much more fun when you are in shape.
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