Corliss Williamson Q&A

Jeff Corder has been a long-time friend of Corliss Williamson since their childhood days in Russellville. Corder is a regular on the HI.com Insiders board. He submitted this question and answer session with Williamson, now a star with the Detroit Pistons in the NBA.

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


 


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