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Husky Men's Basketball

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November 8, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Jamaal Williams: “I want to be a head coach someday”

Finally had a chance last week to talk to Jamaal Williams (left), the former Washington standout who starred on back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 teams and is now working with the Huskies.
He started Sept. 20 and during the past six weeks he’s been a constant presence around the team. Williams can’t work with the players on the court, however, coach Lorenzo Romar said Williams’ provides a positive influence because he understands the system and culture of Husky basketball.
Williams is high on the Huskies, still he said this group currently pales in comparison to his former teams.
(So what’s does it feel like to be back?) “It’s definitely different being here. Usually I was in the back there getting ready to play games or go to practice. Now I’m sitting on the side analyzing and watching everything and trying to break down what the players can do better. It’s definitely a different role, but I’m enjoying it.”
(Specifically what’s your role?) “I’m basically in the office and it’s kind of like a mentor to the guys. … Coach kind of mentioned to be that middle man between them when things get rough in the season because it always happens. As a player I understand how it gets frustrating at times. You feel that coach is always getting on you. Kind of like last year when Matt went through his slump and he was having difficulties. I called him on the phone, I talked to him and kind of eased his mind and then all of a sudden he turned around and finished out the season strong. Hearing it from somebody else other than the coach it worked for him and helped him out a lot. So that’s kind of the role I’ll be taking with everybody at this point.”
(Are you able to travel and how close will you be with the team?) “I’ll be on the road. I’ll sit on the bench. They have me in charge of this new stat software so I’m running that and trying to get a grasp of that and also watching to give my input to players when I can.”
(Why are you doing this?)

“I want to be a head coach someday. I cut my career short due to my family. I have kids and it made it hard to go overseas now that they’re getting older and getting in school. And I knew that my main goal when I got into basketball was to be a coach. So I felt like at the age of 27, why not get into it now. Coach gave me an opportunity and it was something that I thought and debated over. I had three offers to go overseas again. Two to Israel and one to go to Norway. I had the contract sitting there and I sat there and thought about it and weighed it out. I talked to a good friend of mine Todd Ramasar. He was my agent when I left school, but he’s also a close friend. He just said go ahead and get into this and you won’t regret it. This is a good opportunity for you. Talking to him just eased my mind and I made that decision that this was the direction I was going to go in.”
(Are you okay walking away from your playing career?) “I definitely was comfortable. I felt like when I came to college, I knew I had limitations with my height NBA wise. I felt like playing overseas I was able to get that experience of playing as a professional. I think I got what I wanted out of my playing career. So I was definitely comfortable walking away and at the end of the day, spending time with my kids and seeing them growing up outweighed missing all of the moments of seeing my kid walk or my daughter go to her first day of pre-school. I put my life in priority and put things in perspective with where I wanted to be and what’s most important to me.”
(How old are your kids?) “My step daughter Jayda is six. Brooklynn is three and then Braylen is one.”
(What’s your impression of the team?) “They have a chance. They have a lot of talent. I think if it comes together and everybody starts to understand the defense and where they’re supposed to be and it becomes a thing where it’s second nature and they’re not thinking, then they’ll have a chance to put together a special season.”
(How do would they matchup with your group?) “They would have a tough time.”
(Why?) “I haven’t seen them play a game yet, but I know if you would play against my group you’re going to have be ready for a fight. We had a lot of rough and confident guys. We had that chip on our shoulder all the time like we always felt like we were being shafted and we would go out and try to prove something. No matter what we got, we always felt like it wasn’t good enough. So I think they would have a hard time dealing with that. And obviously, we had so many weapons.”
(Who are you talking about?)Brandon Roy, Tre Simmons, Will Conroy, Nate (Robinson) and Bobby Jones.”
(So you’re talking about your junior year team.) “Oh yeah. My senior year group, I think they would still have a hard time. But my 2004-05 team, they would have had a problem. It would have been really difficult. Just too many weapons.”
(Can you infuse your toughness into these guys with words and instruction?) “I can. It’s one of those things where they’ve seen my play and they understand what it took for me to be able to do that so there’s a respect level there. So when I say things I think they take it to heart. There’s times when I joke with the guys and there’s times when I’m serious. And they know when I’m serious, I’m just trying to help them. They know the guys I’ve played with and I’ve seen them and their work ethic and what it takes to get to the level that they’re at. I can tell them this is what this guy did to get to this point. But ultimately, it comes from within. That toughness or drive or whatever it is, no one can put that in you. It’s got to be there, but people can help you tap into that and I think I can do that.”



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