HEADER TERRENCE WILLIAMS Shooting Guard/Small Forward University of Louisville Cardinals #1 6:05.6-222 Seattle, Washington Rainier Beach High School
OVERVIEW One of the more colorful characters in college basketball, to call Williams "unique" would be an understatement. When he first arrived on Louisville's campus as a freshman, he was a brash, cocky youngster with a me-first attitude, but he quickly adhered to head coach Rick Pitino's rules. He not only became the team's leader and "spokesman," but in this day and age where players opt out of college for a chance to play in the pros, he was very comfortable staying with the Cardinals until his eligibility ran out.
Never at a loss for words, Williams became the media darling on the team and also one who knew how to ignite the spark in his teammates, even though his actions sometimes rattled his opponents. In the 2009 Big East Tournament, Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn described facing Louisville as "being chased by eight pit bulls, and you just got to keep running for your life."
After Williams led the Cardinals to a 76-66 win over Syracuse in the Big East title game, he jumped on a press table, impersonating Syracuse's Eric Devendorf for his teammates. He shook the television announcers' hands at the conclusion of the victory and entertained reporters, saying he saw "Tweety birds" when he took a forearm to the face, and boasting about the 55 text messages he had waiting after Louisville won the Big East.
"He always keeps us upbeat," Louisville forward Earl Clark said. "He's just that cool, funny guy that's going to make you laugh." He does all of this with a purpose, of course, not just to amuse or draw attention. "Every great team has a good leader," freshman guard Samardo Samuels said. "His teammates feed off his energy. Terrence, the energy that guy plays with, you have no choice but to play hard. That's what he's got over everybody."
Williams enjoys the affection of Louisville fans who are charmed by his charisma. For a guy who likes to say that he does not seek the spotlight, he hogged the Big East trophy, lugging it around the court by himself and bringing it to the stands for a few Cardinals fans to touch. In his official team biography, he said that Al Pacino should play him in a movie and that Pitino is the "greatest man I've ever met."
Williams' father passed away when the youngster was six-year-old. Yet, it is common to see him talking to his father during the national anthem before a game. He asks his father to keep him and his opponents safe from harm during the game. Then he inflicts harm upon his opponents again, in every phase of the game, all with a huge smile on his face.
Under Pitino's guidance, the shooting guard set numerous milestones at the school. In addition to setting the Big East Tournament record for steals, he raised his career totals to make him the only player in Cardinals history with more than 1,500 points, 900 rebounds, 500 assists and 200 steals. He has two of Louisville's four career triple-doubles, and averaged 12.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals in his final season.
"Terrence can do anything on the court," Pitino said before alluding to Williams' NBA future. "I'll be borrowing money from him real soon." Williams absorbed whatever the coaches asked him to do and he fixed his shooting mechanics in midseason. He shot the highest percentage of his career. It was his way of seeking and winning approval from Pitino. "Me looking to him as a father, it's like your father leaves and you change the oil for him," Williams said of winning Pitino the Big East trophy. "You help him out in some way."
At Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Williams was a four-year starter, helping his team win the state title in 2003 with a 26-3 mark. An All-City and first-team All-State selection each of his final two years, Williams was rated 27th in the nation by USA Today's Rob Harrington, 39th by The Hoop Scoop and was among the top 100 overall prospects by RivalsHoops. As a senior, he averaged 21.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 7.8 assists in helping the team to a 21-8 record and the state semifinals.
As a junior, Williams averaged 18.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists as Rainier Beach posted a 27-2 record, falling in the state championship game in double overtime. He also played football for Rainier Beach as a starting wide receiver and free safety for the Vikings' Metro League championship team. In the 2005 Adidas Derby Classic all-star game in Freedom Hall, he was the MVP of the Black Team with 32 points, four rebounds and two assists while also winning the dunk contest.
Williams turned down scholarship offers from Indiana and Kansas and enrolled at Louisville in 2005-06. He started 21 of 33 games that year, averaging 25.1 minutes, 8.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures 14 times that season, including seven times in his final nine contests.
As a sophomore, Williams started all 34 games, the only Cardinal to accomplish that feat that season. He led the team in scoring (12.4 ppg), rebounding (7.0 rpg) and assists (3.8 apg), earning USBWA All-District IV, NABC All-District VII second-team and All-Big East Conference second-team honors. He was a member of the Big East All-Tournament team after posting two-game averages of 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 steals.
In 2007-08, Williams produced just the fourth triple-double in school history (vs. Siena.) The NABC All-District VII and All-Big East second-team pick became the Cardinals' 59th career 1,000-point scorer, as he ranked among the league's leaders in assists (4.5, seventh in the Big East), rebounding (7.2, 11th), assists-turnovers ratio (1.54, 12th) and minutes played (35.9, fourth). He also averaged 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists in U of L's four NCAA Tournament games.
"T-Will" scored at least 20 points on six occasions as a senior, including a career-high 26 points vs. top-ranked Connecticut, as he earned All-Big East and NABC All-District V first-team honors. He averaged a career-high 12.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while dishing out 185 assists and coming up with 86 steals.
2008-09 SEASON Became the school's 19th All-American selection, earning first-team honors from the Wooden Award, Sports Illustrated and Lowe's Senior CLASS, second-team accolades from ESPN, Fox Sports and Rupp Awards, and third-team recognition from The NBA Draft Report, Associated Press and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC)...NABC All-District V and All-Big East Conference first-team pick...Started 36 of 37 games, as he helped the Cardinals capture their first Big East title and help the school achieve its first No. 1 ranking in the final regular-season poll conducted by the Associated Press...Suffered a right knee medial meniscus tear before the season opener, but was back on the court for the full schedule...Scored a career-high 423 points (12.5 ppg) on 169 of 392 field goals (43.1 percent), 57 of 148 three-pointers (38.5 percent) and 68 of 117 free throws (58.1 percent)...Reached double figures in scoring in 23 games and in rebounding 12 times as a senior...Led the Cardinals in assists (185, 5.0 apg) and steals (2.3 spg, for a total of 86; ranking 23rd in the nation) while also averaging 8.6 rebounds (317 total, including 51 from the offensive glass)...Charged with 62 personal fouls and 86 turnovers.
2007-08 SEASON All-Big East Conference and NABC All-District VII second-team choice...Started all 36 games, as he became the Cardinals' 59th career 1,000-point scorer with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists at Providence...Finished with 401 points (11.1 ppg) on 146 of 355 field goals (41.1 percent), 49 of 144 three-pointers (34.0 percent) and 60 of 105 free throws (57.1 percent)...Snatched 260 rebounds (7.2 rpg), including 52 from the offensive boards, as he had five double-digit rebound efforts and delivered on 161 assists (4.5 apg, seventh in the Big East), 27 blocked shots and 48 steals...Had 105 turnovers to go with 70 personal fouls....Ranked fourth in the league with an average of 35.9 minutes played per game.
2006-07 SEASON USBWA All-District IV, NABC All-District VII second-team and All-Big East Conference second-team choice...Member of the Big East All-Tournament team after posting two-game averages of 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 steals...Was the only Cardinal to start all 34 games, as he led the team in scoring (423 points, 12.4 ppg), rebounding (238 total, 7.0 rpg) and assists (129, 3.8 apg)...Shot 36.7 percent from the floor (158 of 431), 26.1 percent from three-point range (49 of 188) and 60.4 percent from the foul line (58 of 96)...Had seven double-double performances...Charged with 81 turnovers and 72 personal fouls, but blocked 23 shots and had 43 steals...Hit 35 three-point goals over the last 18 games after making 12 in the Cards' first 14 games of the season.
2005-06 SEASON Billy Minardi Classic All-Tournament team choice...Started 21 of 33 games as a true freshman at small forward, scoring 278 points (8.4 ppg), as he made 104 of 266 field goals (39.1 percent), including 40 of 129 treys (31.0 percent) and connected on 30 of 49 free throws (61.2 percent)... Had 155 rebounds (4.7 rpg), as he collected 33 steals, blocked 11 shots and doled out 70 assists...Fouled out twice, as he registered 61 personal fouls and 57 turnovers...Scored in double figures in 14 games, including seven of the last nine.
CAREER NOTES Williams started 127 of 140 games at Louisville, finishing his career ranked 18th on the school all-time record list in scoring with 1,564 points, second in assists (541), seventh in rebounding (966), fourth in three-point goals (195), fourth in steals (210) and second in minutes played (4,486)...Reached double figures in scoring in 75 games, as he recorded 18 double-doubles and two of the four triple-double performances in school history...Is the only Louisville player to register more than 1,500 points, 900 rebounds, 500 assists and 200 steals...His 541 assists are topped by LaBradford Smith (713, 1987-90)...His 195 three-point field goals rank behind Taquan Dean (359, 2002-06) DeJuan Wheat (323, 1993-97) and Reece Gaines (225, 1999-2002) on the school all-time record chart...His 210 steals placed him behind Darrell Griffith (230, 1976-80), Smith (227) and Tick Rogers (220, 1992-96) in Louisville annals...Only Wheat (4,560 minutes, 1993-97) logged more minutes on the court for the Cardinals than Williams' 4,486.
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Rainier Beach (Seattle) High School, where he was a four-year starter, helping his team win the state title in 2003 with a 26-3 mark...All-City and first-team All-State selection each of his final two years...Rated 27th in the nation by USA Today's Rob Harrington, 39th by The Hoop Scoop and was among the top 100 overall prospects by RivalsHoops...As a senior, he averaged 21.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 7.8 assists in helping the team to a 21-8 record and the state semifinals...As a junior, Williams averaged 18.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 6.2 assists as Rainier Beach posted a 27-2 record, falling in the state championship game in double overtime...Also played football for Rainier Beach as a starting wide receiver and free safety for the Vikings' Metro League championship team.
INJURY REPORT 2008-09 Season: Recovered from a medial meniscus tear in his right knee suffered in a pickup game (10/14), undergoing arthroscopic surgery the following day, as he returned to full practice on 11/09....Did not start for the first time in 96 games and played 15 minutes vs. DePaul (2/15) to aid his recovery from a deep bruise in his right (shooting) forearm near his wrist, which he suffered in practice (2/04). The injury affected his play in three games.
OTHER TOURNAMENTS/TEAMS SUMMER: In the 2005 Adidas Derby Classic all-star game in Freedom Hall, he was the MVP of the Black Team with 32 points, four rebounds and two assists while also winning the dunk contest.
PERSONAL Communications major...Has an unusual hobby, as he has a collection of 130 shoe boxes in his dormitory room...Son of Sherry Jackson...Born 6/28/87...Resides in Seattle.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Extremely versatile wing player who still struggles to finish in non-transition situations, but that could be a product of Louisville's offense, which did not always play up to his strength, wingspan reach and outstanding explosiveness...High flyer with great leaping ability, having won several slam-dunk contests during his career...Even in the team's set offense, his high elevation skills were evident, based on his vast improvement sinking treys the second half of his senior year...With his court speed and ability to move laterally, he is a much better fit in a wide open attack than in playing the half-court game...Has experience at both forward and both guard positions, using his frame and court physicality to be very disruptive working in the passing lanes, as he ranks with the school and Big East's all-time ball thieves (210 steals, including 86 as a senior)...For a wing player, his timing and explosion off the floor has seen him excel going for the defensive rebound (averaged 6.9 boards for his career, with 760 of 966 coming from the defensive glass)...Has the ability to fire out to guard perimeter shooters, face up to the slower power forwards or bang the inside to combat for the rebound vs. the bigger and more physical front court types...High energy type who might talk a lot of "trash" on the court, but it has been quite effective at getting his opponents out of their element...Still a big work in progress when it comes to being counted on for scoring opportunities, but is an unselfish player who does a good job of creating shots for the open teammate...Has the long wing-span and excellent athletic conditioning to log a lot of minutes on the court, as he has some of the best stamina in this draft class...Has the pivot moves and loose hips to make things happen in catch-and-shoot situations...With his improved three-point range, defenders can no longer sit back and wait for him to take his shot and are forced to slide out and defend, as he has the long limbs and explosive burst to get to the rim once he locates the space needed...Very good ball handler who can gain a few minutes of action at the point...Streaky shooter, but has shown marked improvement finishing in transition...Has the power to absorb contact and finish under the rim (needs to spot his chances, as he will rush his shot often, though)...Possesses excellent court vision, whether when executing the outlet pass or getting into the passing lanes for the big theft...Definitely one of the better lock-down defenders you will find in this draft, as he uses his length and agility to face up and mirror and also has enough power to box out his opponent...Has that sweet, smooth release and developed the deep range to hit the pull-up jumpers...Also shows good ball security and is not turnover prone...Bit of a liability shooting off the dribble, but does a good job of elevating and setting his feet on mid-range jumpers... Plays with good court sense, knowing when to kick the ball out rather than take a foolish or off-balanced shot...Times his leaps well and always seems to be in the right position to combat for the rebound...Worked hard this past season to improve his shooting technique and while he will never develop into a prolific scorer, he knows how to get the arc under his shot rather than firing the ball off with a low trajectory...His balance and change of direction agility lets him handle the switch-off when defending on screens and he is savvy enough to keep his hands moving constantly in attempts to contest shots when facing up to his opponent.
Negatives: Physical player who can draw contact, but fires off too many bricks from the line (58.9 percent free-throw shooter)...All-out hustler, but needs to learn how to vary his speeds, as he will get reckless and out-run the play...Takes too many off-kilter shots and is especially ineffective when attempting to shoot with his off-hand...Also has a lot of difficulties setting his feet and shooting off the dribble...While he can get aggressive, he will also back down from contact and all but disappear into the background for long stretches...Settles too much for jump shots when he should be driving to the basket and absorbing contact (poor finisher at the rim)...Will often settle for a bad shot when hoisting from the perimeter...Has a very weak left hand, resulting in a high amount of turnovers when he uses it to put the ball on the floor (will revert to settling for too many floaters when forced to play the half-court game).
Compares To: COREY MAGGETTE, Golden State -- Like Maggette, Williams is a mixed bag as a shooter. He has improved his ability to shoot from the perimeter, but will still take too many ill-advised shots. He is a good lock-down defender, yet seems to shy away from contact, as he is a poor finisher around the rim who prefers to rely on floaters and an inconsistent jumper as his bread and butter plays. He is very ineffective shooting with his off-hand or when coming off the dribble. Yet, he is an explosive athlete who can defend multiple positions and has the athletic frame to be either a two-guard or three-forward at the next level. He will never be a prolific scorer, but his rebounding, passing and defensive skills are what make him a first-round talent.