Williams, Bearcats Hit The Weights Early

By now, everyone knows of the UC football team's return to spring practice. Not drawing as much media attention, Tuesday also marked the basketball squad's return to off-season strength training and conditioning. Bearcat Insider talked with strength and conditioning coach Dave Andrews about the status of one Bearcat in particular- Mike Williams.

After sitting out the 2006-07 season following his transfer from the University of Texas, big things were expected out of the 6’-7” forward from Camden, Alabama.  Then to the horror of Andrews, among others, it was announced Williams would miss the entirety of the 2007-08 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon during preseason workouts.


“I told him when his injury occurred last fall there wasn’t anybody more upset than me, I’m sure,” said Andrews.  “Me and him had worked a lot together there in his transfer year.”


Though he’s been down, the former McDonalds All-American hasn’t been completely out.  Rehabbing throughout this past season, Williams has been working hard towards hopefully being cleared to play in the near future.


“There’s about three or four of us that have tag-teamed his rehab.  He’s continued to train throughout the entire process,” Andrews told us.  “We’re at the point hopefully within the next week he’ll be cleared.  That’s what our hope is.  He has been running, we’ve been doing some stuff with him.”


Andrews was scheduling to have Williams hit the training facility with the rest of his teammates Tuesday, though possibly taking a less physically active regimen.


“I’m going to have him in there regardless of when he’s going to be cleared,” said Andrews.  “It just depends on how much we can obviously do with him, how fast we can kind of progress him.  We’ll take it as a gradual process and try to make sure everybody’s kind of on the same page with it.”


Once healthy, Andrews knows what Williams is capable of and knows just what to expect from the player to whom head coach Mick Cronin referred to all year as “our best big guy.”


“Obviously, when we get Mike strong we’re looking for him to be one of our punishers,” said Andrews.  “We’re looking for big things out of him just in terms of leadership and obviously his ability.”


While Williams has been Andrew’s primary focus of the past few months, as of Tuesday he now has an entire team to train and prepare for next year’s preseason.


“We’ve got a couple of kids that we’ve targeted that need to gain weight, and we’ve also got a couple that we need to kind of monitor their body fat,” he said.


While he admits he hopes Williams to eventually be the strongest player on the team, Andrews spilled the beans on who he thinks the strongest of Bearcats are.  Surprisingly a larger player was not first to come to mind.


“Pound for pound, I would say Deonta (Vaughn)’s the strongest just because of his lower body strength,” Andrews said of the 6’-1” guard, UC’s leading scorer last season.  “We’ve also got a couple of these young kids, Kenny Belton, Rashad Bishop, even Larry Davis.  Pound for pound, those guys are extremely, extremely good.”


“In general, the guys have done an excellent job for me in the first year and a half most of them have been here,” added Andrews.


While it may be some time before we see any of them take the court, rest assured that Andrews has got Williams, Vaughn, and the rest of the Bearcats traveling the right path on the strength and conditioning front.


Bearcat Insider Top Stories