Jawad: ‘What it takes to win'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – He's one of the senior most Carolina basketball players on scholarship, so as he should be, junior Jawad Williams is the team leader.

However, it's not necessarily a candidacy that he campaigned for. The sleek and smooth Williams just has the natural ability and a little more experience to go along with it. He's also one of the most consistent and reliable Tar Heels, offensively and defensively.

"I'm just a guy out here trying to win, but if I say something I expect my teammates to listen," Williams said. "And if they say something, I'll listen to them. I just go out there and do what needs to be done."

Williams also looks decidely meaner – from an opponent's standpoint – than he did when he arrived as a freshman two years ago. And since his sophomore season, he has bulked up his previously slender frame to 225 pounds of deceptively quick muscularity.

"I spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer, and I ate anything and everything I could find," Williams said. "I worked hard everyday and tried to stay in the gym. I didn't take much of a break at all this summer. This is a big year for myself, as well as my teammates."

The Tar Heels and their new head coach Roy Williams open the 2003-04 season Nov. 22 at home versus Old Dominion. So far the adjustment to Williams' demanding coaching style has been a relatively smooth one.

It's not so much that Williams and former coach Matt Doherty differed in their philosophies or goals, but more that Williams' resume affords him higher regard.

"It's a not a case of more respect – with any coach, you're going to respect him," Jawad Williams said. "But I've watched his teams play for quite sometime now and I've seen how he dealt with certain players, and I'm just looking forward to playing for him."

Last season Williams was named All-ACC honorable mention, as he was second on the team in scoring with 14.9 points per game and rebounding at 5.6 per game. He scored in double figures 28 times last season and led the team at the free throw line, making over 75 percent of his attempts.

While he has been a solid contributor throughout his career, Williams began to turn the corner last season from good to very good. This year, in the up-tempo style of play and with his added size and experience, very good could easily turn to great.

But more so than being concerned about how he is perceived individually, Williams just wants to be a part of a winning program for the first time in his collegiate career.

"We have a great chance of becoming a great team right now," Williams said. "We showed flashes last year, and hopefully we can keep everything together and do big things.

"It's going to be very exciting. We have to learn to play fast, but not out of control. We're all great athletes that can get out and run. I think it's going to work out real well, especially when everybody's healthy."

Also see: May: ‘I'm 110-percent' - Noel: ‘It's been a wild ride' - Felton: ‘The Carolina blood in me' - Manuel: ‘As long as we win'

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