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Jordan Williams fit, ready to seize chance with Nets

POSTED June 28, 2011
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia


(The New Jersey Nets held their rookie press conference Monday at the team's practice facility. Holding No. 15 is Torrington's own Jordan Williams. Photo credit: The official Twitter page of the Nets - @netsbasketball.)

Opportunity.

Instead of dwelling on landing anywhere in draft, just as long as it was high, Torrington’s Jordan Williams was looking for a team that would give him a chance to see considerable playing time.

Enter the New Jersey Nets, who selected Williams in the second round in the NBA Draft this past Thursday. Sure, getting the guaranteed, not to mention more, money as a first round pick would’ve been nice, but other than maybe, Miami, no team has such a glaring need right now for Williams’ strength: rebounding.

And he’s ready for the challenge, and opportunity, the Nets will give him.

“Rebounding is something you have a knack for,” Williams said Monday when he was officially introduced as a member of the Nets. “I developed the skills for it at a young age and I’m ready and excited to use those skills in my professional career.”

Last season at the University of Maryland, Williams pulled down 11.4 boards a game to go along with 16.9 points per contest. While the Knicks dominated the New York area coverage last year with the Carmelo trade drama, the biggest news surrounding the Nets was their lack of toughness in the paint. Seven-foot center Brook Lopez scored 20 points a night, but averaged only six rebounds in 35 minutes per game, leading to public and private criticism from head coach Avery Johnson.

If Williams can rebound, he’ll play. It’s that simple, as the Nets have little depth on the frontline.

“I’m looking forward to finding my spot and role,” said Williams, who will wear No. 15, previously worn in New Jersey by Vince Carter. “I know my game will translate in the NBA. You can’t teach rebounding and I’m confident I’ll do it consistently throughout my career.”

“If you can rebound in college, you can rebound in the pros,” noted Nets General Manager Billy King. “In getting Jordan, we have someone who has proven that he knows how to rebound. I like guys who are able to do that in college, because you know they’ll be able to do it here.”

Williams and fellow Net draftee MarShon Brooks flew Monday night to California to work out for Johnson. Time is of the essence for the Nets coaching staff to work with them as the NBA is expected to lockout its players within the next week.

With Williams, Johnson will see a more fit player than we last saw four months back at Maryland. He’s lost 15 pounds and is down to 250, realizing it was now or never to get into top physical shape for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“My body in college had weight it didn’t need,” Williams said bluntly. “I just didn’t look right. I started to eat right, realizing as a professional that your body is everything. You need to treat it well.

“Now, my game is now versatile and I’m in much better shape.”

The NBA has canceled its annual summer league for rookies, so it’s imperative for Williams to keep in shape on his own until training camp, whenever that comes.

Judging by his motivation in the time prior to the draft, Williams is not about to let up. He’s come this far, and he’s determined to go even further.

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