Gameday at BWA Q&A: Jacorey Williams

GAMEDAY AT BWA Q&A – Jacorey Williams (BBall_Fanatic_)

In his third season as a Razorback, Jacorey Williams is no stranger to the #Fastest40 style of basketball. Though the Birmingham, Alabama native saw playing time his first two years, 2014-15 has proved to be Williams’ breakout season. The junior has equaled a career-high of six rebounds in two of his last three starts and tops the team with a plus/minus rating of +105, including +35 against Wake Forest. Excited for conference play to start, Williams has been focusing primarily on his rebounding and defensive skills.

You started for the first time in your first collegiate game against Iona and now you’ve started the last three games. Tell me what that feels like.
“There’s not really a big difference. I just see it as the same thing as coming off the bench because I bring the same type of energy to the game.”

You’re in your third season as a Razorback. How do you think you’ve improved most from your first two years to now?
“Just how I see the game. The game has really slowed down for me and I’m more comfortable because of the experience that I’ve gotten over the years.”

Recently you’ve been recording strong rebound and assist numbers. What have you been doing to strengthen those skills?
“Slowing down, being patient and letting the game come to me, not trying to go get the game. I feel like I’ll know what type of play to make eventually if I’m patient. So I just try to slow everything down a little bit. I’m just always trying to make the right play.”

The team continues to be one of the leaders in the nation in assists. What does this say about the Razorbacks?
“That we’re sharing the basketball. We’ve got to trust in the other guys to make plays, not just one or two guys. So I feel like that will be helpful throughout the season. The more we trust each other, the easier the game will come for us.”

You’re two games away from SEC play. What has the team been doing both physically and mentally to prepare for conference games?
“We’ve just been going hard in practice. We’ve been trying to critique our defense as well as our offense. We’re trying to slow down to screen a couple guys and get more guys open so we can penetrate more. Defensively we’re just trying to keep guards out of the lane.”

Coach Anderson has said that you are one of the best conditioned players on the team. What have you done to make that the case and why do you think that’s important for your game?
“I know that playing defense in this system requires a lot of energy. So I try to have the attitude of, if I’m conditioned, I can play defense. If I don’t get tired, I can play defense longer. It’s more of a mental thing than anything though.”

What are some goals you have both individually and for the team as the season goes on?
“Individually, I want to continue to improve on my defense and rebounding. I know both of those skills are big in our system, we need to know how to play D and rebound. So I try to stay strong in those areas. As a team, I just want us to continue to grow. There are a couple guys that we look to as leaders and we expect them to step up as leaders. The sooner they do that, the sooner we’ll grow up as a team.”

The team obviously has really great chemistry this year. Tell me about that.
“At least half of the players on the team have played two years or more with each other. Like I said, we just trust each other. That’s why we have so many assists, because we trust each other to make plays and that’s big in basketball.”

The team has been very successful in the last three games after losing to Iowa State and Clemson. How has the mentality changed from those losses to the more recent games?
“We got a big wake up call. We know that we have to come with it every game no matter what people say about any team. We just know that from here on out, we have to come to play every single game and not take any games off.”

How do you think you’ll keep this momentum from the last three games going?
“I think we’re looking at games from a defensive perspective. So we’re feeling like, as long as we play defense, we are going to create offense and that’s how we win ball games.”