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Maryland's Williams exceeds expectations

Center has emerged as one of ACC's best freshmen

February 20, 2010|By Don Markus | don.markus@baltsun.com

"He's learning how to finish. I think the biggest thing for Jordan that he's learned so far is that every time he gets a chance to finish close to the basket, how hard he has to take the ball because he's still getting shots blocked that he shouldn't," Gary Williams said. "He's got this little tip-toe move that he brought with him from high school. You've got to get up, especially against the front line we'll see [today]."

Gary Williams said he sees similarities to former Terps star Lonny Baxter. As a freshman, Baxter started 10 of the last 11 games after replacing an injured Obinna Ekezie and wound up averaging more than 10 points in the postseason, when the Terps made it to the Sweet 16.

In Maryland's two trips to the Final Four, Baxter was the regional Most Valuable Player both years.

"Lonny Baxter is the best reference I can use," Gary Williams said. "Lonny became a much better athlete, Chris Wilcox became a much better athlete, after their freshman year. What they do is get a look at what they have to work on, not just hear it from a coach, see it for themselves and get it done."

Gary Williams expects the same thing to happen this spring and summer for Jordan Williams.

"As far as maturity goes, we're still working on it, " Gary Williams said. "There's a lot to work on with Jordan, but he's willing to work, which is the key to anybody being successful."

Turina said a player who averaged 36 points a game as a senior in high school will become a "20-points plus" scorer by the time he is done at Maryland - most likely in three years. Bonner, who played center and forward at Virginia in the 1970s, said that unlike many of today's college freshmen, Williams doesn't seem to be playing with one eye on the NBA.

"What impresses me is that he doesn't seem to be in a hurry. It's the old cliche, 'He lets the game come to him,' " Bonner said. "He plays with a high basketball IQ and a great demeanor. And he's only going to get better."

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