ABCD: Q&A with Marvin Williams

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- You asked, Marvin answered. After the all-american-to-be announced a commitment to North Carolina last week, <I>Inside Carolina</I> collected questions from its subscribers. We narrowed down the hundreds of submissions and sat down with the newest Tar Heel in the bleachers of the FDU gym at the ABCD Camp this week to ask him your questions …

Read about Marvin Williams' personality and you may see him described as "different." It's certainly not a bad "different" – but the word "different" doesn't do him justice, anyway.

In an interview, his engaging nature almost catches you off guard. And at the same time he also carefully thinks through each question and answers honestly. If anything, he's too considerate and cautious in his responses, but for the right reasons.

He hasn't played a minute here because of an ankle injury, but there's no sign of sulking. Instead of leaving the camp or hanging out in the stands, he stands with his team during pregame layups and cheers them on from the bench during the game.

Marvin Williams sure is "different" – and it's unfortunate that more players aren't "different" like him.

I've seen you listed at 6-8, 6-9 and different weights. What is your height and weight?

In Colorado I measured 6-8 1/2, 222.

What will your ideal height and weight be by the start of next season and do you consider yourself a small forward or a power forward?

I couldn't say. It doesn't matter – I just want to play.

Of the UNC players you got to meet on your visit, which player/players did you really hit it off with?

All of them. Sean May was my host and I hung out with Rashad McCants a lot … Raymond Felton … Jawad Williams … all of them.

Having seen the current UNC players, where do you think you'll be able to best contribute on that roster?

I couldn't tell you. That's something you'd probably have to ask Roy Williams.

After watching his instructional videos so many times growing up, what was it like to finally meet Dean Smith?

It was interesting. He's really short! He's a lot shorter than I thought he was and he's lost a lot of weight, so he looked different from when I'd seen him on TV. … Basically he told me to keep working hard and keep doing what I'm doing. Stay focused and have fun wherever I go to college.

Do you think you would have gone to North Carolina had Roy Williams not been the head coach?

I'm not sure, I don't know. He had a pretty big impact, but I'm not sure if he had been at Kansas that I would have gone to Kansas. [I removed Kansas from my list because] I was a little bit more interested in the three schools I had [UNC, Arizona, Washington].

At what point precisely did you know you were coming to Carolina?

I just thought about it a lot – a whole lot – and one day I just realized that is where I want to be.

How did it feel to be able to keep your decision a secret the way that you did?

It wasn't hard for me. I was just scared for the people that I told. My parents knew, and I knew my dad was real excited so I thought it might slip out of him. I told my best friends, also, but they didn't tell anybody.

Much has been made of your announcement as a "turnaround" in UNC's ability to recruit national players? How would you react to people that say that your recruitment is a pivotal point for UNC, one of the most storied programs in college basketball history?

[Laughs] It's exciting. I don't know about a "turnaround," but whatever I can do to help I'm going to try and do. It's exciting.

What is your favorite thing about Chapel Hill?

The people – definitely. The people are great.

What out of the 2004 class are you going to recruit to play alongside of you at UNC? Are you friends with any top players that you want to play with in college?

It'd be nice to play with Lyndale [Burlison] because I grew up playing with him. … I'm friends with Dwight [Howard] a little bit. … I'm not going to [tell other players to go to UNC], not at all, because I didn't like it when people did that to me, so I'm not going to do that.

How important is getting a degree to you and your family?

Oh, definitely it's important. My family can't [directly] benefit from it, but it's definitely important to me.

Is going straight to the league a possibility you will consider?

I couldn't tell you right now. Right now I don't think I'm ready, but who's to say? Who knows what God has in store for me. We'll see next year, but right now I want to go to college. … Everything would have to be perfect. I'd have to be ready physically, my family would have to be ready. Everything would have to be ready.

Jordan, Worthy, Perkins, et all commented that perhaps the most rewarding thing about college and even in their whole career was bringing Dean Smith his long awaited national championship. Have you thought about doing that for Roy Williams?

Definitely – definitely. That'd be a nice experience to share together. That'd be nice for him.

What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses on the court?

Everything is a weakness. Everything can get better.

Fans love nicknames. Are there any you prefer? Now's your opportunity before one gets assigned to you …

[Laughs] Just "Marv" – everybody calls me "Big Marv," but that's it. Or "Marv Jr."

What current or former player on any level do you most model your game after?

Not at all. My favorite players are Kevin Garnett and Gary Payton, but I try to be myself.

There have been comparisons to the likes of Drew Gooden, Danny Manning and even James Worthy made to your game. Who do YOU think you play like?

I hope not. You'd have to tell me that, but I hope not. I want to try and have my own game. Try to be myself.

I asked Felton and McCants, so I have to ask you … now that you have committed to UNC, how much do you dislike the Dukies already?

[Laughs] No, I haven't put on a jersey yet, so not yet. I'm sure I will, though.

How did you become a Carolina fan (from age 10) out there in Washington?

I've been a Carolina fan all my life because of my dad. He came from Carolina, so growing up as a kid Carolina was my dream school.

Growing up a UNC fan – what stands out in terms of memories of watching UNC games?

I used to watch Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Ed Cota and all those guys. That's the only thing I really remember. I remember Shammond Williams had that big old brand [a type of tattoo] and I wanted a brand for a while, but I just got tattoos instead.

Who is the best or toughest player you have faced in competition, either in high school or AAU ball?

No. 207 [pointing to Dwight Howard playing on the court in front of him].

Do you have any pregame routines or superstitions?

No superstitions. Me and my best friend, Bill, we always tape our left pinky together before we play. I don't do that in AAU, just high school.

What do you think about the ACC's decision to expand?

The more the merrier.

What number are you going to wear, Marvin?

21. Jawad will be a senior when I'm a freshman. If he's still there, then probably 24. He's got seniority.

What are your hobbies outside of basketball?

I like to read and play Nintendo.

What is your favorite book?

The Harry Potter series. I read them on the road, in the hotels and planes.

Did you read the internet and/or message boards of the teams that were recruiting you?

Never, ever-ever-ever. The only time I'm on the Internet is for schoolwork purposes. That's it.

Marvin, a recruit said he didn't choose UNC last year because he didn't have the swagger (strong confidence) that the current Tar Heels have. Do you have swagger?

I've never been a cocky person. You've got to have confidence to compete, but mine never really shows. I don't try to express it in that manner.

Any message for the Carolina fans?

See you soon!

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