A Husky who passes on passing

  • By Larry Henry / Herald Sports Columnist
  • Tuesday, December 28, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

SEATTLE – Jamaal Williams is basketball’s version of the Bermuda Triangle.

When the ball is passed to him, his teammates never see it again. Well, never might be a little strong. Let’s say, seldom.

You see, Williams likes to shoot. Which could be a problem if he didn’t score. But the 6-foot-5 junior forward is unusually good at finding the hole. And the Husky coaching staff isn’t about to discourage him from launching.

But neither would they mind if Williams would, you know, maybe share the ball every now and then.

Said head coach Lorenzo Romar with a teasing little smile after a recent game, “We’d like to see Jamaal get an assist once every four games.”

He was only half-joking.

“We’d like to see him catch it and maybe 20 percent of the time pass it back out,” said assistant coach Ken Bone.

Having said that, he quickly added, “He does need to score. That’s his role. If he’s in there not looking to score, he might as well not be in there.”

That’s not to imply that scoring is all Williams can do. He either leads or is among the team leaders in rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

“I try to do all the intangible things along with my scoring,” the native of Corona, Calif., said. “Rebounding is one, but I don’t try to get steals. Steals just happen. The ball ends up coming my way and I deflect it. My long arms definitely help with that. Blocks, same thing. It’s not like I try to get those. They just occur sometimes.”

Scoring isn’t just a sometimes thing with him. Better than 58 percent of the time when the ball leaves his hands, it goes in the basket. In the past two games, he shot 24 times, made 19, and had 41 points in 43 minutes.

For the season, his per-game averages are: 11.6 points and 4.9 rebounds. All this in 19 minutes a game as a reserve forward.

With his penchant for points, he reminds Romar of a couple of former NBA players, both known for their scoring: Mark Aguirre and Adrian Dantley.

Williams never got to see either of them play, but has asked Romar if he could come up with some tapes just so he can find out how he compares.

He realizes that his coaches would like to see him pass a little more just to keep the offensive flow going that the Huskies have ridden to a 10-1 record and a No. 13 ranking as they head into Pac-10 play this week.

“That’s always being brought up to me,” he said. “They know that I’m a scorer and that’s my first option, but they always make mention that maybe sometimes (I should) just kick it out and make the extra pass if nothing’s there. But if something’s there, I’m probably going to take it.”

And the coaches have no problem with that. Romar knew what he was getting when Williams, who spent his first two years at New Mexico, transferred to the UW last year, sitting out the season due to NCAA rules.

“I’ve been watching him since he was in the ninth grade,” the coach said. “He was a scorer then. I knew that’s what he could do for us.”

Romar recruited Williams when he was coach at Saint Louis University, but Williams opted for New Mexico. In his sophomore year, the Lobos got a new coach, Ritchie McKay, a former Husky assistant. Player and coach didn’t always see eye-to-eye.

“I didn’t really fit into his offense, which is fine,” Williams said. “I knew there was probably going to be some kind of mixup when he got hired. He didn’t recruit me. But I gave it a chance and it didn’t work out. We parted ways, on good terms, and now I’m here.”

And the Huskies are thankful he is. A powerful scoring attack got even more potent with his punch off the pines.

At times, Williams almost seems to operate with radar when it comes to finding the basket. “I don’t know how he does it,” point guard Will Conroy said. “Sometimes, he doesn’t even look at the basket and the shot goes in.”

He leaves his coaches shaking their heads in amazement. “His feel for the basket is as good as I’ve ever seen, and that’s counting games I’ve watched and games I’ve coached,” said Bone, the head man at Seattle Pacific University before coming to the UW. “He just knows where the hoop is. He’s got one thing in mind when he touches the ball: He’s going to score.”

Williams acknowledges: He is a scorer. A reluctant scorer. “I don’t like to shoot,” he said.

Wait a minute. Whose leg you trying to pull, big fella?

“They’ll (his coaches) say differently, that I like to shoot,” he went on. “But I just take what’s there.”

Whatever you say, Jamaal.

Your coaches will be happy if you just keep doing what you’ve been doing.

By the way, you’re due an assist the next game.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Jackson senior and UNLV commit Yanina Sherwood is The Herald’s 2024 Softball Player of the Year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
2024 Softball Player of the Year: Jackson’s Yanina Sherwood

With both her arm and bat, Sherwood led the Timberwolves to their second-straight state title.

Kamiak’s Synclair Mawudeku (2) pitches during a 4A softball game between Kamiak and Jackson at Kamiak High School on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. Jackson won, 9-0. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2024 All-Area softball team

Editor’s note: The Player of the Year and All-Area teams were chosen… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba catches the game-winning touchdown pass as Eagles cornerback James Bradberry defends in the fourth quarter on Dec. 18. (Yong Kim / Tribune News Service)
Seahawks look to fully unlock Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s potential

Seattle is expecting good things from the receiver, who was taken 20th overall in the 2023 draft.

Everett 8-year-old Ryder Romano was selected to compete in the prestigious Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Brittany Walker)
Everett 8-year-old selected to prestigious hockey tournament

Ryder Romano will play at the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament on July 1-7 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) celebrates a stop of Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Nov. 30, 2023. The Cowboys won, 41-35. (Tom Fox / Tribune News Service)
Captain of the Seahawks defense? Why it could be Witherspoon

The talented second-year cornerback brought ‘outrageous energy’ to Seattle’s minicamp.

Drew Bryson, the new Arlington boys basketball head coach, at Arlington High School on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington taps alum Bryson to continue boys hoops tradition

The former Eagles star succeeds Nick Brown as Arlington’s head coach.

The Everett Silvertips remain confident in signing defenseman Landon DuPont, the first-overall selection in this year’s WHL prospects draft, who’s considered a generational talent. (Photo courtesy of Chris Mast)
Patterson: Have patience Tips fans, offseason news is coming

Everett is close to hiring a new GM and new coach, and still confident of signing Landon DuPont.

Dan Parker with the Snohomish High School girls cross country team. (Elizabeth Armstrong / The Herald)
2024 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame class announced

Five athletes, one coach, one contributor and one team are being inducted.

Why Seahawks are joining NFL trend with joint practices

Seattle will conduct practices with the Tennessee Titans prior to their preseason game.

Seattle Storm head coach Noelle Quinn on the sidelines June 15, 2023, during a game against the Las Vegas Aces in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)
As WNBA exposure grows, Storm content to quietly stack wins

Amid the Caitlin Clark-fueled buzz, Seattle has won seven of its past eight.

AquaSox second baseman Brock Rodden throws out a runner June 5 during a game against the Vancouver Giants at Funko Field in Everett. Rodden has been the team’s top offensive performer so far this season. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
AquaSox week in review: Keystone capers buoy Everett

Brock Rodden and Josh Hood have a friendly rivalry that pushes both players.

Snohomish Summer Smash returns for ninth edition

Registration is open for the tennis tournament for high schoolers, which takes place July 18-21.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.