Enter freshman Jordan Williams. This season, Williams far exceeded the expectations of every Terps fan, and has many thinking that he may join the ranks of Tom McMillen, Joe Smith, Lonny Baxter and other Terp greats who patrolled the paint. Entering this season Jordan Williams was just a big man, but after a stellar freshman season, he can now be considered a big man on campus.
Maryland fans often criticize Gary Williams for not bringing in top 100" ranked recruits. Jordan Williams was found nowhere on the top 100 list. Once again, however Gary Williams was right, as Williams played just as well, if not better, then the number three ranked recruit and future lottery pick Derrick Favors. His average of over 30 points a game in high school impressed a lot of people, but it still made people question whether he had what it took to play in the ACC.
In addition to the level of his competition in high school, many questioned Jordan Williams' body, saying he was too fat and too slow to have success. Couple that with his struggles to qualify and get into Maryland, and many thought Williams could be the next Hassan Fofana rather than the second coming of Baxter. Five months later, the only question about Jordan Williams is how good he is going to get.
This season was special for the Terps and Jordan Williams was one of the major contributors. This season Williams ran the gauntlet of some of the most talented big men in the country and his ability to hold his own and sometimes out play them was a major factor in the Terps 13-3 ACC regular season.
Trevor Booker, Solomon Alabi, Brian Zoubek, Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal all expected to exert their will against the freshman, and all came away surprised when Williams, for the most part, exerted his will on them.
No game may have been more evident of his progression then the NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan St. Early in the game Williams was in foul trouble, but Gary Williams left him in. He did not let the coach down. Playing with three fouls for much of the game, Williams' ten points and ten rebounds helped the Terps come back from a 16 point deficit and almost win the game.
Not since Joe Smith has there been a big man that has had people talking this much after his freshman season, but hopefully Williams' stay in College Park is much longer then Smith's.
For 20 seasons Gary Williams has been the face of the Maryland program, but it may be a less fiery, Williams that leads Maryland into the national spotlight for the next three seasons.
Five months ago he was a quiet, big freshman, whose skills were in question. Now he has people wondering what the future holds for him. Jordan Williams went from the big man of Torrington, Connecticut, to the big man on campus in College Park.
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