Williams says he's set to go

March 15, 1995|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- A week ago yesterday, Maryland coach Gary Williams was being released from a local hospital after spending nearly a week there with a severe case of pneumonia.

Last night, he left with the 10th-ranked Terrapins on the team's charter flight to Salt Lake City for tomorrow night's NCAA West Regional first-round game against Gonzaga.

"I feel good," Williams said before practice at Cole Field House. "Everything checked out. The doctors took X-rays of my lungs [Monday] and everything looked better. You don't feel yourself after you've just had pneumonia, but I feel I can coach."

Williams said that he paced himself through his first practice on Monday, drinking fluids and taking an occasional break. And, of yes, he also tested those lungs a couple of times, something he undoubtedly will do when the tournament begins.

"I yelled, probably not as much as I usually do," he said. "It was pretty good to get out there."

When told that junior point guard Duane Simpkins said that Williams probably was saving his emotions for Maryland's opening game, the normally sarcastic coach showed that he hadn't lost his sense of humor.

"I'm saving myself for Duane," said Williams, who's been known to give Simpkins an earful at times.

Williams said that his first practice in nearly two weeks "was probably bigger for me than it was for the team."

If there was a silver lining that accompanied the pneumonia -- aside from Williams joking Sunday night that the 12 pounds he lost will mean that he'll never have to get liposuction -- it is that he's well-rested for the grind of the NCAA tournament.

"I feel a lot fresher than I would normally," said Williams.

GAME DATA

Game: Maryland (24-7) vs. Gonzaga (21-8).

What: First round, NCAA tournament West Regional.

Where: Salt Lake City.

When: Tomorrow, approximately 10:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Channel 13/WBAL (1090 AM).

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