WILLIAMS ENJOYS CAREER GAME IN LOSS

MANHATTAN, Kan. - After missing the majority of the 2010-11 basketball year to a pair of concussions, Nino Williams is back in a K-State uniform showing what he can do with basketball in hand. In an 82-73 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, Williams did his part with career highs of 15 minutes plays, 12 points and 9 rebounds.

Imagine having a headache ranging from dull to splitting every single day … and for months.

"It wasn't a good time," admitted K-State freshman basketballer Nino Williams, who Saturday enjoyed his career-game with 12 points and nine rebounds in an 82-73 loss to Oklahoma.

It was a year ago in mid-November that Williams whacked the back of his head on a fall to the Bramlage Coliseum basketball court during a Wildcat practice.

"I was out about 10 days where I couldn't remember some stuff and had constant headaches," said the 6-foot-5 native of St. Louis, Mo., but graduate of Kansas' Leavenworth High School, who missed K-State's exhibition game, plus the first three games to the 2010-11 season.

Williams was then cleared to play for a couple weeks getting into three games against Gonzaga, Texas Southern and Emporia State, which were games when he scored a total of seven points.

"I recovered pretty quickly, so it wasn't too scary," said Williams.

But the next concussion was scary as it again came in practice with the blow coming from Freddy Asprilla's elbow.

"I was out (of practice) about three months on that one," reflected Williams. "I couldn't do any running, lifting or have any contact for over two months. I didn't lose memory, but my brain was swollen a little bit and I had that constant headache."

Of the blows, coach Frank Martin said, "The first one was a fluke, but the second one was ugly. It's not a comfortable thing to go through from a coaching standpoint."

It was serious enough that doctors told Williams "… if I had another one (concussion) I would be out at least six months."

"Nino is a competitive kid and it hurt him that he couldn't take part in workouts," said Martin, who estimates that Williams took part in no more than "seven to 10 practices" at the end of the season.

"He didn't get that full benefit from a full redshirt season because he couldn't practice. Everyone knows what to do sitting on the sideline, but when you actually get out on the court and perform it gets more complicated." From his year of watching, Williams, the 2010 Kansas High School Player of the Year, said, "I learned how hard practices were and what it takes to be good at K-State. But not getting out on the floor and mixing it up hurt.

"I'm not sure how much I could have helped in games because I was young, but I could have helped them in practice," said Williams. Williams has played in four of KSU's six games this year, averaging five minutes per game. He has scored a total of seven total points and collected three rebounds.

What Williams hopes he can give the Wildcats the rest of the way is "… energy, rebounding and hitting some open shots. I just want to help with team play."

Williams' next opportunity for that is Wednesday in Bramlage Coliseum where the Wildcats will host Texas in an 8 p.m. tipoff.


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