Shattering perception

boys basketball charm city challenge

UM recruit wants to be known for more than big slam

April 05, 2009|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

Jordan Williams remained seated in the bleachers Friday night during the Charm City Challenge's dunk contest. For this night, at least, the backboards were safe.

Williams, a 6-foot-10 power forward headed to Maryland in the fall, might be best known for following a teammate's missed shot during a high school game and dunking the ball so forcefully that the backboard shattered. His mother, Dee Williams, said her first thought was: "Do we have to pay for that?" The play became a YouTube favorite and instantly enhanced the reputation of the player the Terrapins hope will provide some much-needed inside presence.

Maryland fans can get an early look at Williams, of Torrington, Conn., on Sunday when his United States All-Stars play the Baltimore All-Stars at Towson Center at 5 p.m. The ninth annual high school all-star challenge opens two hours earlier with a second team of city stars playing a team representing various Maryland counties.

Williams will be joined on the U.S. team by future Maryland teammate James Padgett, a 6-8 power forward from Lincoln High in Brooklyn, N.Y. Terrell Vinson, a 6-7 forward from St. Frances who is being recruited by Maryland, was scheduled to play for the Baltimore All-Stars. Vinson's status wasn't certain because St. Frances just competed in a high school tournament, losing Friday night to St. Benedict's (N.J.) in Bethesda.

Among others participating will be Antoine Allen from Mississippi Christian Academy, who will attend Miami; Andrew Fitzgerald of Brewster Academy, who will attend Oklahoma; and Jordan Dumars, the son of former NBA guard Joe Dumars, who has committed to South Florida.

Williams wants to be known as more than a dunker.

It's not that the three-time all-state player minds cultivating a fierce image.

"On the court, I'm really aggressive and passionate. After we lose, I don't want to talk to anybody," he said.

It's just that dunking seems limiting to Williams, whose father is an assistant coach on the Torrington team.

"I want people to know I'm not a selfish player and I work hard and I want what's best for the team," said Williams, ranked as the 99th top recruit by Scout.com.

Wearing sweats, Williams sat next to his U.S. stars teammates Friday night and watched the dunk contest at Dunbar. He said he didn't enter because "I don't have that many dunks. I just have a couple."

All-star games might mean more for Williams than some players. He said he is still developing his game against top talent, having played one summer for the New England Playaz Amateur Athletic Union team.

"I'm trying to go from a high school body to a college body," said Williams, who weighs 245 pounds.

Maryland had no center this past season, starting three guards. That fact was not lost on Williams and Padgett, who hope to make an immediate impact.

Padgett's high school coach, Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, is coaching the U.S. stars in Sunday's game.

Morton said of Padgett's game: "His footwork under the basket is unbelievable for a 17-year-old."

Padgett was a Lincoln High teammate of Lance Stephenson, the highly touted guard who has yet to announce where he will attend college. Stephenson is not participating in Sunday's game.

Padgett was asked Friday night whether Maryland is still in Stephenson's thinking.

"I asked him," Padgett said. "He said he's really open about it."

charm city challenge

When: Sunday

First game: City vs. County, 3 p.m.

Second game: Baltimore vs. U.S., 5 p.m.

Where: Towson Center

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