Boston High School: Jordan Williams

Nets draft Torrington's Jordan Williams

June, 23, 2011
With the 36th overall pick in the NBA Draft, the New Jersey Nets have selected Torrington, Conn.'s own Jordan Williams, a sophomore at Maryland.

Many mock drafts had Williams going anywhere from the late first round to early second round. Locally, he is most remembered for a decorated career at Torrington High, where he finished as the state's seventh all-time leading scorer, was named All-State three times, and finished his senior year as both the state's Gatorade Player of the Year and the New Haven Register's Player of the Year.

Williams is also the nephew of former UConn standout Murray Williams, a Torrington alum who held the school scoring record prior to Jordan. He also memorably shattered a backboard in one game (skip to 0:31), and finished his senior season averaging 35.7 points per game.

Of the Williams pick, ESPN's Chad Ford was brief, noting:

Williams is tough and an excellent rebounder, but he's undersized for his position. Still, the Nets needed help here.

For some perspective, here is ESPN's pre-draft scouting report on Williams:

Projection: First-round bubble pick

Positives: Strong, physical post presence... Muscles his way to the basket... Has a soft touch around the basket... Excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor

Negative: Not a great athlete... Lacks quickness and explosiveness... Has struggled with conditioning issues in the past... A bit undersized for the 5, though he does have long arms... Lacks a refined perimeter game... Needs to improve his passing ability

Ford's analysis: From May 12: "Williams has transformed his body . Williams was one of the best rebounders in college basketball last season -- but he was a bit on the flabby side. He showed strength and toughness in the paint, but his lack of explosive leaping ability and conditioning were major issues. Williams heard that feedback loud and clear from NBA scouts when he decided to leave school and he's spent the past six weeks in Vegas working on his body... He's lost 10 pounds, dropped from 13 percent body fat to 8 percent and really hasn't lost any strength but has gained quickness, explosiveness and agility in the process. He's also improved his jump shot over the course of the past six weeks as well."

In the news: More on his diet change and Vegas workouts from the Washington Post: “I didn’t want to do it, by all means. But deep down, if you want to be successful and you think about who you’re doing it for, making people proud, my family, it’s way bigger,” he said. “Eating a Big Mac? Or getting drafted higher? You have to choose.” Williams’s choice has been obvious, based on the improved body that has come as the result of nearly two months of workouts off the Las Vegas strip at the Impact basketball facility with trainers Joe Abunassar and Andrew Moore. He trained three times a day, working on post moves in the morning, hitting the weight room in the afternoon and taking jumpers in the evening.

The Celtics were one of the teams said to be showing interest in Williams, and with that in mind ESPNBoston student intern Greg Payne also made the following observation:

Payne's take: The Celtics are said to be seeking a young and athletic big man capable of crashing the glass, and Williams fits into many of those categories. While he's slightly undersized for a center at 6-foot-9, and isn't an overly explosive athlete, Williams is a relentless rebounder, and with Jermaine O'Neal the only center the Celtics currently have under contract going into next season, it would make sense for them to try and add size via the draft. Williams has shown improvement in his mid-range shooting and is still projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick, meaning there's a good chance he'll be available when the Celtics choose at No. 25.

Torrington's Jordan Williams on draft radar

May, 19, 2011
ESPN's Chad Ford unveiled his second mock draft yesterday, and for Connecticut high school hoops fans, the name going to the Celtics should ring pretty familiar.

Ford has the Celtics taking Torrington native and Maryland sophomore Jordan Williams at the No. 25 spot, writing, "The Celtics miss Kendrick Perkins, who was drafted (by Memphis) late in the first round of the 2003 draft. Williams could be another potential sleeper. He is big and physical and was one of the best rebounders in college basketball this past season. If he can stay in the sort of shape he displayed in Las Vegas, he could be a steal at this juncture in the draft."

The 6-foot-10 Williams is most remembered locally for a decorated career at Torrington High, where he finished as the state's seventh all-time leading scorer with 2,228 points. The nephew of former UConn standout Murray Williams, he was a three-time all-state who was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year, and the New Haven Register's Player of the Year as a senior.

He was a freshman on the Torrington squad that won a state title in 2006, and led the Raiders to the Class L state final in 2009 -- and at that, he put up 36 points (15 of 20 FG), 13 rebounds and nine blocks in the losing effort. Just as impressive, he averaged 35.7 points per game to finish as the school's all-time leading scorer.

Most notably, Williams did ridiculous stuff like shatter a backboard (skip to the 0:31 mark). Or score 50 points in a game, which he did four times, breaking his uncle's record at Torrington in January 2009.

All of that led him to College Park, where he became the first Terp since Steve Blake to make the ACC's All-Rookie Team in 2010. This season was even more impressive, as he averaged 16.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and a 53.8 field goal percentage in 33 minutes a game. Williams declared for the draft on March 29, but did not hire an agent.

Ford's latest analysis on Williams, from May 12, notes an improved physique from the end of the season:

Maryland's Jordan Williams has transformed his body. Williams was one of the best rebounders in college basketball last season -- but he was a bit on the flabby side. He showed strength and toughness in the paint, but his lack of explosive leaping ability and conditioning were major issues.

Williams heard that feedback loud and clear from NBA scouts when he decided to leave school and he's spent the past six weeks in Vegas working on his body. The results are pretty impressive, as you can see here in this photo I tweeted Tuesday.

He's lost 10 pounds, dropped from 13 percent body fat to 8 percent and really hasn't lost any strength but has gained quickness, explosiveness and agility in the process. He's also improved his jump shot over the course of the past six weeks as well.

Williams might be slightly undersized for a center (he measured 6-8 3/4 in socks, 6-10 in shoes at Impact), but he's got a 6-11 wingspan, is physical and is a proven commodity on the boards.

Williams also excelled with the Springfield, Mass.-based New England Playaz AAU club during the summer. For some perspective, here is how ESPN's recruiting analysts broke down Williams during his high school career:

July, 2008: Williams has good size and strength, which he uses to wreak havoc in the post on both ends of the court. He uses his size to carve out deep position in the post for rebounding and scoring close to the basket. Williams, despite his size, runs the floor reasonably well and will finish in transition, keeping up with the smaller, quicker guards. He rebounds in traffic very well, and extra contact does not seem to bother him most of the time. Once he receives the ball in the post, he relies on his emerging post game to score in the paint, though he needs to continue to improve his footwork and post moves. Williams needs to continue to improve his body, which will lead to even better conditioning and make him effective for longer stretches. Williams does contest shots, though he needs to use his imposing size to affect the game more on the defensive end.

July, 2008: Williams is a late bloomer who is now getting attention from the high-major level. He has thick frame with long arms and very soft hands. He doesn't have great lift but his feet are quite nimble for a man his size. He is best described as blue-collar around the basket and he rebounds well in traffic. He has a strong drop-step move, but overall his post moves are raw.

December, 2007: Jordan is an extremely polished low post player. He has excellent footwork and soft hands that allow him to easily establish position and catch a variety of passes. He has an impressive repertoire of moves with his back to the basket that allows him the versatility to score over either shoulder. He is equally effective from the high post where he shows a consistently soft touch on his elbow jumper. Jordan doesn't have great size for the power forward position, but he plays bigger than he is because of his physical nature. Consequently, he finishes well under the basket, despite his lack of vertical explosion, and also gets himself to the free-throw line where he converts a high percentage. He is also a very effective rebounder because he is quick to block out, holds on to everything that his hands touch, and shows a willingness to rebound out of his area. Although he isn't much of a shot blocking threat on the defensive end of the floor he is capable of guarding bigger players on the most given his physical nature. Overall, he is as skilled of a big man as you will find who has a great understanding of how to play inside. If he were three inches taller he would be unstoppable.

Super Saturday breakdown and picks

December, 3, 2010

Yesterday, coaches and captains from each of the teams participating in the six Eastern Mass Super Bowls played at Gillette Stadium toured the field in anticipation of Saturday's games. We caught up with Bridgewater-Raynham quarterback Billy Zolga and Everett wide receiver and defensive back Matt Costello yesterday.

Both players were at Gillette last year when their respective teams lost their Super Bowl bids. Now, the seniors are looking to leave a lasting imprint in their final high school football games.

This is for all the marbles, so let's get straight into the action:

Everett (11-0) vs. St. John's Prep (8-4), 6 p.m., Gillette Stadium
Everett players to watch:
ATH Manny Asprilla, WR Matt Costello, QB Jonathan DiBiaso, RB/LB Vondell Langston, LB Buck McCarthy, WR/DB Kenny Calaj, OL/DL Nick Chiarello, DL Shaquille Taylor.
St. John's Prep players to watch: RB Tyler Coppola, OL/DL Nathan Cyr, TE Ryan Delisle, TE/ROV Lucas Bavaro, OL/DL Dan Culkeen.
The skinny: In his third year under center, DiBiaso has exploded to lead one of the state's most prolific offenses (37.5 points per game), and re-write the record book (he threw his state-record 40th touchdown pass of the season in Tuesday's 21-0 win over Andover). But you best believe he is thanking his lucky stars for the exploits of Costello (20 touchdowns) and Asprilla. The Boston College-bound Asprilla, who lines up at both tailback and wide receiver, is one of the state's most dangerous threats in the short passing game, and known to rip off huge gains out of underneath routes. Prep, meanwhile, has rode a powerful ground game (what's new?) to victory, led by Coppola, who has nearly 450 yards on the ground in the last two games. The Eagles are anchored by a powerful line led by Cyr and Culkeen, while Bavaro has emerged as an intimidating presence over the middle on defense.
X-factor: The matchup of the Trinity-boud Cyr, one of the state's best o-linemen, versus Taylor, one of the state's best d-linemen, will be one of the most intriguing battles of the day. Both are built low to the ground, with an explosive first step, and you've got to wonder if one key block will spring either team to victory.

Barboza: A Prep win would be the fitting culmination to an emotional ride, but this has been the Crimson Tide's year. Everett, 27-21

Hall: This has been a remarkable run for the Prep, after all the program has been through these last two seasons, and they're winners in my book either way. I'm going with one of the unsung guys, Gilly DeSouza, to win it late with his feet for the Crimson Tide. Everett, 24-21.

Bridgewater-Raynham (10-2) vs. Gloucester (12-0), 8 p.m. at Gillette Stadium

B-R players to watch: QB/QB Billy Zolga, RB/LB Nick Schlatz, OL/DL Mike Devin, RB/LB Mike Chicoine, RB Brandon Morin.
Gloucester players to watch: TE/DE Chris Unis; RB/LB Gilbert Brown; FB/LB Jordan Shairs; OT/DE Andrew Mizzoni; C/NT Anthony Latassa.
The skinny: Do you like running the football? This game is for you. The Trojans and Fishermen do it better than just about anybody and certainly have the book on each other after facing off in last year’s Super Bowl. You’d be hard pressed to find a more consistent pair of backs than Gilbert Brown and Jordan Shairs of Gloucester. The Trojans ran behind Brandon Morin to a win over Weymouth in the semifinals after starting in place of injured tailback Nick Schlatz. It would give B-R a lift if Schlatz can recover from a shoulder injury sustained in a Thanksgiving Day win over Brockton
X-factor: Really it just comes down to which team blocks its assignments better. It’s simple as that.

Barboza: This might be the most difficult game to forecast, but I’m giving the edge to Gloucester’s experience. Gloucester, 16-14.

Hall: This might be the best matchup of the day. Power versus power, strength versus strength. Gloucester has more playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, but I like the way this B-R team has been running the ball this last month. Against Dan Buron’s wishes, of course, I’m picking the Trojans to avenge 2009 and put an end to the Fish's 25-game win streak. B-R, 17-14.

Mansfield (11-1) vs. Reading (12-0), 3:30 p.m., Gillette Stadium
Mansfield players to watch:
RB Jamel Marshall, QB George Busharis, WR Blayne Taylor, OL/DL Sean Otto, OL/DL Kyle McGuire, OL/DL Anthony Todesco, WR Jeff Hill.
Reading players to watch: QB/DB Brian Bourque, OL/DL Jeff Covitz, OL/DL Anthony Fodera, RB Larry Gilligan, RB Zack Bates, WR Sean Gildea, WR Connor Sheehan.
The skinny: The defending Division 2 Super Bowl champ Rockets come into Saturday on a 25-game win streak, albeit by a thread after some late heroics from Bourque and Covitz allowed them to escape their home turf with a 15-14 thriller over Dracut. With Bourque spearheading a shotgun-oriented rushing attack, the Rockets have amassed 42 rushing touchdowns going into Saturday. The Hornets, meanwhile, are back at Gillette for the second time in three years thanks to a stalwart defense led by McGuire at defensive tackle, and the workhorse carrying load of Marshall. This Mansfield squad, known for its Wing-T, isn't afraid to pass the ball more than in years past, with the arm of Busharis. Taylor and Hill, the latter of whom caught three touchdowns in Tuesday's 28-0 shutout of Walpole, have emerged as downfield threats the last few weeks.
X-factor: Covitz, with his above-average leg strength and low center of gravity, has been the most irreplaceable guy on the offensive line, and is generally been a nuisance for opposing offensive linemen coming off the edge. With that in mind, picking up the blitz will be crucial for the Hornets.

Barboza: When it's on the line, Marshall is just too explosive. Mansfield, 17-14.

Hall: Stan Andre, the one who kicked off this whole win streak, was in the house Tuesday night to take in the Reading game. I'm sure he said something to them in the ecstatic locker room after the game, and I'm sure it's going to count late in the fourth quarter. Reading, 28-27.

Duxbury (12-0) vs. Concord-Carlisle (10-2), 1:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium
Duxbury players to watch:
QB Matt O’Keefe, DB/QB Kane Haffey, OL/DL Brett Harasimowicz, TE/DE Don Webber, RB/DB Reilly Naton.
Concord-Carlisle players to watch: RB George Craan; QB Peter George; RB/LB Jabrail Coy; LB Evan Boynton.
The skinny: These are two very stingy defenses with the Green Dragons allowing just 10.8 points per game and the Patriots have surrendered a shade under 13 points per game. Make no mistake, these teams can also move the ball. Duxbury thrives with its complement of Kane Haffey and Matt O’Keefe at quarterback. Concord-Carlisle can always depend on George Craan and his 1,600-plus yards out of the backfield.
X-factor: The Patriots and their fans know what to expect out of Craan, but if sophomore Tim Badgley can repeat his five-carry, 109-yard performance from their semifinal against North Andover, C-C’s chances for victory would greatly improve.

Barboza: One last time, I’ll pull this one out. The “Double Dragons” of O’Keefe and Haffey will lead them to victory. Duxbury, 21-20

Hall: Yes, that’s right, I called Duxbury’s defense “Duxbury Swag District” yesterday on our podcast. I am tragically lame, and slightly out of control. Duxbury, 24-10

Beverly (6-6) vs. Somerset (12-0), 11 a.m. at Gillette Stadium
Somerset players to watch:
RB/LB Seth DeMello; RB/DB Jaron Spear; OT/DT Ian Levesque; RB/LB Alex Estrella; QB Adam Ledoux.
Beverly players to watch: RB/DB Brendan Flaherty, QB/DB Joe Wioncek, OL/DL George Kallas, RB/DB Nick Theriault, LB Mark Giles, OL/DL Andrew Cannata.
The skinny: Somerset’s 28-0 win over Dighton-Rehoboth in the semifinals was a prototypical Blue Raiders game. Both Seth DeMello and Jaron Spear finished with over 100 yards rushing as Somerset bled the clock dry in the second half. Meanwhile, Beverly – the official Cinderella squad of the 2010 playoffs — showed that they truly belonged with a 41-14 thrashing of Scituate. Will the Blue Raiders prevail and finish a perfect season? Or can the Panthers keep the magic alive? It’s the quintessential favorite vs. underdog.
X-factor: The teams’ lines. For Division 3 schools, both of these squads have good sized linemen. Six-foot-five, 315-pound lineman Ian Levesque is a mountain on the Blue Raider line, but is agile as well. George Kallas is an immovable object on the Panther line.

Barboza: Not only is the double wing difficult for any team to run, but the Blue Raiders have all the right elements to run it to its best. Somerset, 28-14

Hall: Clock strikes midnight on Beverly, as two wings are better than one. Somerset, 21-10

Holliston (11-1) vs. Cardinal Spellman (12-0), 9 a.m., Gillette Stadium
Holliston players to watch:
RB/LB Kevin Curry, QB Sean Mayo, TE/DE Ryan Barrett, RB/DB Jake Frechette, WR/DB Christian Baker, OL/LB Ethan Rayner, OL/DL Kevin Lamarcque.
Spellman players to watch: RB/DB Blaise Branch, FB/LB Jared Lordi, RB/DB Jordan Williams, QB Zac Cooney.
The skinny: The 11-1 Panthers come into Saturday averaging just a hair under 40 points a game, with Mayo as the triggerman. Even in limited playing time -- the Panthers often pulled their starters in the third or fourth quarter -- the dual-threat quarterback put up 1,723 yards through the air, with 21 touchdown passes to only five interceptions, and also added 456 yards and nine scores on the ground. Spellman, in its third year under Ron St. George, had a remarkable turnaround, going from 2-9 to undefeated and in its first Super Bowl since 1992. At the forefront of St. George's vaunted Wing-T scheme is the senior Branch, who leads Eastern Mass with 36 rushing touchdowns. But over the last few games, defenses have had to worry more and more about Lordi and Williams.
X-factor: The Bryant-bound Barrett, at 6-foot-5 and 233 pounds, was a matchup problem all year long in the Tri-Valley League. And while he's not putting up the most gaudy numbers at tight end and was used more as a blocking back, his combination of size, speed and athleticism demands airtight coverage from the linebackers and helps open up the Panthers' offense.

Barboza: Panthers' rallying cry: 'We Don't Get Fooled Again". Holliston, 31-24

Hall: The Panthers came to Gillette last December and got manhandled. Guarantee you that's been fresh on their minds this week, and for that I think they avoid the same early mistakes that doomed them in 2009. Holliston, 25-20

Shawsheen (10-1) vs. Blue Hills (10-1), 10 a.m., Curry College
Shawsheen players to watch: OL/DL David Summiel, QB Ryan Woolaver, RB Andrew Dascoli, WR Rob Greenwood.
Blue Hills players to watch: RB Vincent Burton, RB Isaiah Teixeira, OL/DL Jamarr Goff, QB John Curran
The skinny: Shawsheen, on the heels of a 21-0 shutout of Madison Park in Tuesday night’s playoffs, is on a roll defensively. The Rams haven’t allowed a point in 19 quarters, dating back to a 41-6 win over Lynn Tech on October 15. Dascoli is the Rams’ workhorse back, while Greeenwood is their top threat at receiver. The Warriors, rested from a bye on Tuesday night, are led by Vincent Burton and his Division 4-best 30 touchdowns.
X-factor: The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Summiel might be the biggest catalyst for this incredible Shawsheen run. Playing right offensive tackle and left defensive end, Summiel paved the way for 118 rushing yards from leading rusher Dascoli, and also preserved a fourth straight shutout.

Barboza: The week off will certainly benefit Blue Hills, but the Rams defense is stout. Shawsheen, 14-7

Hall: Logic says to go with Blue Hills, as they’ll be well-rested thanks to their bye. But this Shawsheen defense is an absolute wagon by Division 4 standards, and for that I’m giving them another shutout to finish off what’s been a remarkable run over the last six weeks. Shawsheen, 21-0

Brighton (9-2) vs. Northeast (10-2), 1 p.m. at Curry College

Brighton players to watch: RB/LB Andrew Maestre, RB Dwight Kennedy, QB Jonathan Marrero, OL/DL Patrick Jean, WR Olumide Olukoga.
Northeast players to watch: RB/DB Bobby Novello; RB/DB Mike Cross; OL/DE Ryan Adams; FB/DE Ian Bagby; TE/LB A.J. Ortiz.
The skinny: You'd be hard pressed to find a hotter defense in the state than the Golden Knights, who have now pitched six shutouts after a 42-0 blanking of Pope John Tuesday. Their next challenge lies in the Bengals. A Division 4-A Super Bowl participant last year, Brighton’s offense is led by running back Andrew Maestre and quarterback Jonathan Marrerro, each of whom ran for two touchdowns in their 36-13 win over West Bridgewater on Tuesday.
X-factor: Brighton wide receiver Olumide Olukoga is the favorite target of Marrerro, but he’s also dangerous in the return game. Olukoga had a 41-yard kickoff return to set up Maestre’s first touchdown of the game. At this stage, with two talented teams, special teams play always comes to bear.

Barboza: Can’t pick against the Northeast defense, but the Bengals will put some points on the board. Northeast, 23-17

Hall: I used to live in Brighton Centre, and my neighbors were awesome. Go grab a bite at Smoken’ Joe’s when you get a chance, and make sure you get the Kansas City Sticky. Brighton, 21-17.

Spellman Branches out to Div. 3A Super Bowl

December, 1, 2010

READING, Mass. -- They say the nail that sticks up gets hammered down? Well, whatever sky-high feelings of glimmer and glee was abound in the countenance of the Cardinal Spellman players, following their 28-16 win over Hamilton-Wenham that punched their ticket to Saturday's Division 3A Super Bowl at Gillette, was shot back to Earth when it came time for head coach Ron St. George to speak.

"We played terrible and we still won," St. George grunted to his players, down on one knee. And the underlying message -- stay humble, stay hungry -- wasn't lost. Senior running back Blaise Branch finished with 176 yards and two scores, to make it 36 rushing touchdowns on the season, but was held to just 40 yards in the second half. So with that in mind, Branch deferred to his teammates.

"I don't know what happened, I'll have to watch the film, but they shut me down," Branch said when asked what adjustments he might have seen from the Generals' defense in the second half. "But luckily, we have some guys who can come up big for us."

Enter Jared Lordi. The senior fullback is used to creating holes for Branch out of the backfield. But with Branch struggling, Lordi served as the perfect antidote, taking jet sweep and veer handoffs, as well as some long strikes out of the backfield, to put the game out of reach.

With six minutes to go, the Cardinals (12-0) clinging to a 14-9 lead and facing fourth and 13 from 31 yard line of H-W (8-3), the Cardinals went for broke. Zac Cooney tossed a fade down the left sideline to Lordi, who came down with it for a 20-yard completion. Two plays later, Cooney ran it in from nine yards out for a 21-9 lead.

Dylan Keith (208 yards passing) fired back quickly with two long strikes, first a 28-yard bullet to James Love, then a 23-yard score to Trevor Lyons running a slant over the middle from the left slot. But Lordi was right back at it, moving the chains with runs of 14 and 11 before punching the ensuing seven-play scoring drive with another fade down the left sideline from Cooney, this one for 23 yards to the near pylon. That made it 28-16 and, with 1:08 left in the game, essentially put things away.

"I didn't like our kids' biorhythms in the locker room," St. George said. "They seemed content, I mean I could sense it. I've just been doing this for too long."

Taking some of the blame unto himself, he continued, "They come out and do nothing, and all of a sudden they hit that bomb, and that one's my fault," referring to the first H-W score, a 68-yard strike from Keith to Love in single-coverage -- shedding his man in single-coverage and with nobody over the top, Love raced easily to paydirt. "I went after them when we were in man, and hey, if you get beat, you get beat, there's nobody behind you."

But Lordi? Only the highest praise.

"He was huge down the stretch, kid's been unheralded all year," St. George said.


CS 7 7 0 14 --- 28
HW 0 0 9 7 --- 16

First Quarter
C - Blaise Branch 1 run (Jordan Williams kick) 2:52

Second Quarter
C - Branch 7 run (Williams kick) 7:35

Third Quarter
H - James Love 68 pass from Dylan Keith (kick failed) 8:57
H - James Brao 29 field goal 2:55

Fourth Quarter
C - Zac Cooney 8 run (Williams kick) 4:01
H - Trevor Lyons 23 pass from Keith (Brao kick)

C - Jared Lordi 22 pass from Cooney (Williams kick) 1:08