My name is Jeff Corder and I'm 34 years old. I live in Hot Springs where I am the Service Manager at the local Honda dealership. My mother and father were divorced when I was an infant and he moved to Russellville. My father was a state trooper and knew the Williamson family well. I was first introduced to the Williamson family when I was 16 years old. They adopted me into their family as one of their own, and to make a long story short, that is how I know Corliss Williamson.
I asked Corliss some months ago if he would be interested in doing a question and answer with me to be put on HawgsIllustrated.com. After he told me that he would love to do it, I contacted Clay and he said go for it. I would like to thank Clay for letting me "play" reporter for one day. I tried to ask questions that everyone would want to ask Corliss. So, here it is and I hope you guys like it.
Jeff: How does it feel to be playing so well right now?
Corliss: It feels real good. It is very exciting to be making a run for the playoffs.
J: Why do you think you are playing so much better in Detroit compared to Toronto?
C: It's a lot better fit for my style of play here in Detroit and I have a great relationship with the coaches and staff.
J: How much longer do you want to play?
C: Well, I don't know. I'll play as long as I can be effective on the court and still have fun at the same time.
J: Do you retire in Detroit?
C: I don't know...would like to. But, I realize that this is a business and things change. I would love to get an extension on my contract and finish here, but you never know.
J: What do you want to do after the NBA?
C: I don't know. I think I'd really like to be a coach.
J: Would you like to coach college or pro?
C: I don't think I would like to coach college, because there are too many things you have to do outside of coaching. I think I would like to be an assistant coach in the NBA. I've learned from some great coaches throughout my career and I would love to share that with other players.
J: Who are the best players in the NBA now?
C: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant.
J: Who has been your toughest match-up in the NBA?
C: No doubt, Charles Barkley.
J: Who was the best player ever to play at Arkansas?
C: (laughing) Corliss Williamson! That's a tough question. You really put me on the spot there.
J: Okay, how about top three?
C: Okay. Sidney Moncrief, gotta put Todd (Day) in there. And, of course, Scotty Thurman.
J: If Joe Johnson would have stayed at Arkansas, do you think he would have been the best ever?
C: Well, I'm not sure. I think that he was the most skilled player to ever play at Arkansas, so it is possible he could have been the best...maybe.
J: Do you think Joe left too early?
C: No, because so many things can change from year to year. When you have the opportunity to make that kind of money, you gotta take it.
J: If you had it to do all over again, would you have stayed in school, or would you have still left early?
C: I would have left after my second year, let me explain why, though. We had just won the National Championship and most likely I would have went in the top five of the draft that year. At this time, there was no rookie salary cap and not a lot of players at my position coming out. But, I waited until after my third year to come out, then the NBA had a lock-out, rookie salary cap and lots of players come out early at my position. So, from a business point-of-view, I should have left after my second year. I learned a whole lot, and matured a great deal by staying for my third year, so I was glad I stayed.
J: Who was the best player you ever played against in college?
C: Man, we're family and you're asking me all these tough questions (laughing). That' s a tough question, let me give you three. Jamal Mashburn, Penny Hardaway and all of the Alabama forwards...Caffey, McDyess, and Roy Rogers.
J: Tell me your best memory of playing high school basketball?
C: (laughing) You know what it is, Jeff. Scoring 52 on your homeboys, Hot Springs High School.
J: That's low! (laughing)
C: Just joking. My best memory was playing my very last high school game against Little Rock Parkview. Even though we lost, and I missed the last shot to win the game, it was still lots of fun. I couldn't ask for more, playing in my hometown, against the best team in the state, and having a chance to score the winning basket...winning the King Cotton was awesome, too.
J: Best memory playing college basketball.
C: I don't want to sound corny and say winning the National Championship, but that was a good one. There's really too many to narrow down, so I'll stay corny.
J: Worse memory playing college ball.
C: Man, I hate to talk about that. Losing to UCLA in the championship game.
J: Why do you think y'all lost that game?
C: They just played great defense.
J: Do you still talk to your old teammates from Arkansas?
C: Well, you know, Scotty (Thurman) and I are best friends and we talk all the time. I really don't talk to any of the other guys that much.
J: Why do you think that is?
C: Well, you just kind of go your separate ways and lose touch during the process. Most guys that were roommates are still close, like Scotty and I.
J: You knew this was coming, but I gotta ask--How do you feel about Coach Richardson getting fired?
C: It made me very sad, but I really don't want to talk about my personal feelings toward Coach getting fired. I talked to him the other day, and he knows how I feel.
J: Do you think that Nolan will coach again?
C: Hmm. Not sure. He had one hell of a run, so he really has nothing to prove. But, you never know.
J: In your opinion, who should be the next coach at Arkansas and why?
C: Hands down, Coach Anderson should be the next coach. He's a big reason for all the success that Arkansas has had and I think he deserves a shot.
J: Do you think that Arkansas can ever get back to playing for a National Championship?
C: If Mike Anderson is the coach, I do. Coach Anderson will coach his own way and have his own style. He's a very good recruiter, also. He played a big role in me coming to Arkansas.
J: What was your main reason for coming to Arkansas?
C: Coach Richardson, coach's style of play and Coach Anderson.
J: Do you think it is hard to recruit black athletes to come play in Fayetteville?
C: No, not really. But, it is different. This is not a knock on Fayetteville, because I love Fayetteville. But, there is a lack of things to do for young black people in Fayetteville. If it wasn't a frat party or a game, there wasn't much for us to do. But, it wasn't a big deal to me because I was from Russellville, which was mostly like Fayetteville. But, my teammates that were from bigger cities, it took them time to adjust. I think you need to sell the school more than you need to sell the town, but I love them both. Give me Bud Walton Arena, twenty thousand Hog fans, and I'll take it any day.
J: Last question, anything you would like to add that I forgot to ask?
C: I would just like to thank all the Razorback fans for all of their support. Keep your head up and it won't be long before the Hogs are back on top!
J: Thanks for doing this with me, I love you!
C: No problem, I love you, too. Later