Jordan Williams- Stay or Go

TSR's Mike Shepherd analyzes Jordan Williams potential decision to turn pro or stay at MD.

Being a Maryland basketball fan first and foremost, I will confess to having a definite bias when I write or comment on anything that involves my beloved Terps. I have been a fan since I first saw Maryland on the television in 1977, coached by Lefty Driesell and featuring players like Jo Jo Hunter, Larry Gibson and Lawrence Boston. It was always the case of playing one of the many serfs in the Blue Kingdom of North Carolina and Duke. Billy Packer and Jim Thacker doing the games. Food Lion commercials abound.

So as I think about the Terps, the Gary Williams vs. Debbie Yow fued, the number of names that pop up and fade along the recruiting trail, the unreal excitement that I have waiting for local starts Nick Faust and Justin Anderson to don their uniforms in 2011 and 2012 respectively, the biggest thing on everyone's mind has to be Jordan Williams and his future.

From a pure standpoint of a basketball fan, we want him to stay. There is no doubt that we will be better if he stays as no one seems ready to step into that monster void of scoring and rebounding if he leaves. Most programs of elite status always seem to reload, having a player ready to accept the reigns and shoulder the burden. Maryland is not an elite program of that ilk, though some people would have you believe so. One national title does not a dynasty make. I would say we are a solid program who has the potential to go elite, though surely that is another story and another argument. All the Gary-haters nod sagely as they read this last evaluation.

Nevertheless, Padgett and Weiss have not even shown enough flashes in a stretch in any games that would lead me to believe that lightning could strike here. When Juan Dixon left, you felt pretty good about Drew Nicholas stepping in and being solid. I don't sense that here and there's not exactly a Greg Oden or Patrick Ewing in our 2011 class that I know about. So Jordan Williams' departure in terms of sheer numbers will be huge, as well as stlye and systemative.

Some of the fans have been politically-correct, saying things that Gary and the other coaches would say. They would emphasize that Jordan should stay and it would move his stock up as it did for Grievas. They will show Jordan the lists of honors and All-American squads he can land on, the spotlight being his, how he can be player of the year in the ACC. How he needs to get stronger for the NBA, how he can improve his game with new wrinkles, work on his range and skills rather than riding the pine for a year in the league. They bemoan a potential lock-out (never happen, too many people making money to be that ignorant to toss it all away) and other factors to his disadvantage. That he is no first-round lock and more."

All of that may be true but let's be real. Most guys who play college ball, all really, want to play in the NBA. Cold hard fact is they want that fame and that paycheck (not necessarily in that order). If Jordan Williams and his family feel, based on expert advice, that they are a virtual lock for the NBA first round, he should declare and hire an agent. I recall years back when Albert King stayed an extra year and hurt his draft stock slightly. And Terrence Morris was a projected top 15 pick after his sophmore year and definietly hurt his stock by staying. A few extra years can expose your weaknesses as well as you better at times. You have to go when the time is right for you as a player and person. And the Prince of Mid-Air and TMo are two of my favorite players!

You go to college to get an education so you can get a good job, to make a living. His NBA stock may never be higher for the simple reason that there is always the risk of injury, the risk that next year's draft could be better (this one seems kind of weak to me) and that he could always have a down year. If Jordan were a guard or forward, then I would be hesitant. But after seeing Daniel Orton drafted in the first round last year averaging a whopping 3 ppg and 3 rpg at Kentucky , I am pretty sure Jordan Williams is first round material.

I would love to see him return in the Terp red and lead us to a successful season. I think it would not hurt his game or his status to stay, especially where he does have a chance at a laundry list of honors. College ball has always retained a purity and beauty that the NBA game just will never have. Every year a team like Butler or VCU makes a run, it just makes college basketball that much more of a wonder. I think Jordan won't miss the school aspect, the classes and the papers and the homework....let's be real. I would not go back to school on a bet unless it was necessary. Some people just don't like school. So I can understand the lure of the NBA life, the chance to move on, to help his family, to make unreal money and to fulfill a dream that belongs to every kid who has ever bounced a ball in his driveway against the house.

As fans, to deride a young man for pursuing his dream would be wrong and nonsensical. If there is more substance than shadow about his decision, he should not hesitate. Maryland will survive and there could be no better recruiting advertisement than a player being drafted in the first round and playing in the NBA. Success like that can only breed more success if we work hard on and off the court as coaches, players and fans. Any time a player can represent your school with his name in the public eye in a positive manner, that can never be a bad thing."

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