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Hoping for a better future for former THS star Jordan Williams.

POSTED January 02, 2017
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON – Real, real tough to see former Torrington High School star Jordan Williams in the news for all the wrong reasons as 2016 came to a close.

The former Maryland star who played in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets looks like he may be in some serious trouble if the charges against him are proven to be true. These are not cupcake charges and hold some severe penalties if the 26-year-old is found guilty.

Charges of third-degree assault, breach of peace, third-degree strangulation and risk of injury to a minor. He was held and the released on a $300,000 bail with a court date of January 10.

It appears, according to published reports, that it was a revenge assault on a 15-year-old in what police called a drug deal gone bad. If found guilty of the charges, jail time could be on the table.

The biggest question here, though, is why a young man who had so much potential for a sustained career in the NBA where he could have been set for life, had himself in that environment in the first place?

Since the day he left Torrington High School with one state championship and another state runner-up honor on his resume, Williams seemed destined for greatness.

I’ll never forget being at the Williams’ house the day he found out he was drafted by the Nets and when LCS traveled to see him at his first practice after the NBA lockout was lifted. Or the day we attended a game in New Jersey and visited with him in the Nets locker room afterwards.

I have said since Day 1 of him being drafted by an NBA team that he could have had a parade in his name in the city where he grew up if things where handled differently.

Should he have embraced the very people who sat in the stands and marveled at his exploits on the court and did as his friend Ryan Gomes did in Waterbury where hugging babies and kissing grandmas came naturally to the long-time NBA star?

How about some free clinics at the high school with the next generation?

I can only speak to how we covered Williams at LCS and it was 100 percent positive all the time.

We look to celebrate the accomplishments of our athletes and citizens. We don’t look to tear them down.

From my own experience, the Williams family has always been open and welcoming to us and I value those relationships.

At times, it felt as though the family might view their relationship with their community as one of ‘us against them.’

Can’t say I blame them in some sense, especially when a local newspaper allowed on-line comments about the family without any filters that were disgusting, and in some cases, racially charged insults from the worst amongst us.

When one is talented and on their way to a potential life-changing career at the highest level, something of this nature brings with it a large degree of jealously from small-minded people.

It’s the job of the person making the climb to ignore, no matter how hard that may be, the pettiness of those who never put themselves in the position to succeed or just like blaming others for their own shortcomings.

Heck, journeymen in the pros who can score 10 and grab 10 boards can last a dozen years and come away with life sustaining income that can affect future generations of their family.

It may come down to a story we have seen play out far too often.

If you surround yourself with people who are doing wrong, the same thing is going to happen to you.

The opposite is also true that by surrounding yourself with people who do the right thing consistently, the same is bound to happen to you.

We still hold out hope that Williams will put himself back into a spot where he can positively impact others, especially the young basketball hopefuls who would love to get some tips from a guy who went to the dance.

Not all these things come with money attached to it, though. It’s not always about the more fortunate ones. It’s about giving back because much has been given to you.

The NBA window may have closed long ago. It’s a cut-throat business with 1,000 guys behind you at every level. The odds of making it at the professional level in any sport are miniscule. The odds of being a successful member of society are much, much higher and up to the individual.

Here’s hoping a young man, one who thrilled many during his days in the Connie Donahue Gymnasium, figures out a way to come home.     



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