Terrence Williams, a four-year star out of Louisville, was in town yesterday to work out with the Pistons. Teams work out dozens of players before the draft, and in the past, hearing an update from any one player might merit only a line or two at the bottom of a newspaper article published days later.
But these days? You can hear from the man himself simply by checking his latest updates on Twitter, where you can also find his latest iPhone pics, such as this shot of him posing with Joe Dumars at the Pistons practice facility.
Williams, who's probably spent more time in airport terminals the last couple of months than many of us will in years, wasn't in town for very long, but he made time for a brief phone interview on his way out (and I mean "on his way out" quite literally -- he was speaking from outside his airport gate, and our conversation was occasionally interrupted by airport announcements). Familiar bias aside, he's exactly the type of player I think the Pistons should target -- a strong, physical wing capable of getting in the paint, making a few plays for teammates and himself and doing the dirty work on the glass and on defense.
If you want a scouting report, check out DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, ESPN or Rivals. If you want to hear his candid thoughts on the travel grind, whether NBA teams should listen to Malcolm Gladwell and press more often and why athletes on Twitter isn't a fad, keep reading.
Matt Watson: How did the work out go? What did they make you do?
Terrence Williams: You do a lot of shooting – do a couple of shooting drills and then you’re ready to play. It’s not really long – just a short, quick, good workout, do a couple of shooting drills and play against the players, 3-on-3, 2-on-2, 1-on-1.
Matt Watson: I know you’ve been going all over the country so far – how has the travel been? Has it been non-stop?
Terrence Williams: I mean, after awhile you get tired of it, but it’s the work that you have to put in to get your name called on June 25th. It’s cool, you’ve got to get used to it, but it gets tough getting off the plane and go out to dinner and then you’ve got to wake up at nine in the morning to workout for the team. This is my third one, so I’m kind of used to it, but I know some guys who it's their sixth one or their seventh one. I mean, it’s cool.
Matt Watson: That has to be pretty nerve-wracking. Are you going to be watching the lottery at all? I know you’re about to get on a plane now, are you going to be able to see it?
Terrence Williams: I won’t be able to see it.
Matt Watson: Being in the Big East and everything, you’ve obviously faced a lot of really tough competition. Who would you say would be the toughest player that you faced last year?
Terrence Williams: I don’t have a toughest player that I faced – Connecticut was probably the toughest team, but as far as players, I did my share well in the Big East, so I don’t really feel like there was a tougher opponent in the Big East. I had tough teams that I played against, but not opponents.
Matt Watson: Okay, that’s a nice, competitive answer. Growing up, was there any players that you tried to model yourself after? Any NBA players that you looked up to?
Terrence Williams: Magic Johnson.
Matt Watson: Completely changing subjects here – I noticed you’ve got the Facebook going, you have the Twitter going, I think a lot of younger athletes, they’re coming through college and they’ve already been exposed to a lot of this stuff. A lot of older athletes already in the NBA, it’s something that they’re really new to. Do you see that as the wave of the future? Is that something that you plan on doing as you go throughout your career, having that real close connection with your fans?
Terrence Williams: I probably will have Twitter. I mean, the main thing is to show people that me and everybody else that’s playing basketball in the NBA -- or trying to get in the NBA – that we are human, you know? I know, for me, I speak for myself, I know that I’m not untouchable, so I’ve had conversations with fans that’s related to basketball so many times. … When a fan can reach you, I think that makes them stay a fan. When they can get on Twitter and write a question that they really want to know about basketball and you answer it, that will make the guy’s day.
I know that if there was some resource where you can write LeBron James – or write Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan back in the day – and they answer it? That’ll make you feel so much more better about your day. And I’m not saying guys – there are some kids that may look up to me like that and some kids that might look up to Dwight Howard like that, or Nate Robinson, so trying to reach that person on Twitter, it just shows that we are human. So I think that people like us have Twitter and I think that we will continue to have Twitter.
Matt Watson: You’re obviously no stranger to YouTube, either. Do you have a favorite YouTube clip of yourself?
Terrence Williams: Nah. It makes a clip because it’s a highlight, so I believe that any clip that’s up there is a good clip because it was a highlight. … I think every clip that’s up there is a good one. I don’t really sit down and watch it, to be honest with you. There is one I’ll watch, with plays from my freshman year to my fourth year, it plays like a sad song. That’s probably my favorite one because it shows my memories throughout the four years.
Matt Watson: There's been some talk recently among NBA fans, there was a writer who was asking why coaches don’t use the full-court press more often, and he used Rick Pitino as an example of someone who’s had a lot of success with that. Do you think an NBA team could have success in the NBA doing that non-stop energy press?
Terrence Williams: Nah. You only see non-stop energy only in the playoffs. You’re not going to see that in the regular season. Not when you have game 14 and game 26 when they’ve got to play 82 and then the playoffs? Nah. Too many guys in the league are older; too many guys would get hurt trying to play that pressing defense. Pressing defense is for kids. Kids in high school do a lot of things different than kids in college; kids in college as you see do a lot of things different than in the NBA. You can’t try to change the NBA’s style. There’s no problem like it is, that’s what makes it the NBA.
Matt Watson: Alright, fair enough. I think you’re probably right, especially about the length of the season. There’s always been talk about whether the NBA should shorten the season. Where are you headed to next?
Terrence Williams: I’m going to Vegas.
Matt Watson: You’re going to Vegas?
Terrence Williams: Yeah.
Matt Watson: Good stuff. Well, thanks a lot for your time, and good luck. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you in Detroit next year.
Terrence Williams: Alright, I appreciate it.