Nov. 14, 2000
The Maryland Terrapins' men's basketball team closes the exhibition season on Wednesday evening against the EA SPORTS California All-Stars, and travels on Friday to the Maui Invitational. Head coach Gary Williams and the Terps tipoff the 2000-01 regular season Maui against Louisville on Monday, Nov. 20 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Tickets still remain for Wednesday's preseason game with the California All-Stars. Contact the Maryland ticket office at 301-314-7070 for details.
Below is Coach Williams' chat transcript from last week's chat on Lycos.com, in anticipation of next week's Maui Invitational which includes top-ranked Arizona, the No. 6 Terps, No. 8 Illinois, No. 14 Connecticut and returning NCAA Tournament participants Louisville, Dayton and UNLV.
Events_Moderator: Welcome! For those of you just joining us, tonight we are chatting with Gary Williams, head coach of the Maryland Terrapins. His team will be in this year's Maui Invitational. Get those questions ready, we will be starting in just a few minutes.
Events_Moderator: Hi everyone, please welcome Coach Williams to this Live Event!
Events_Moderator: Hi Coach, welcome to Lycos Live Events! What's up?
Gary_Williams: Glad to be here tonight. We're trying to become a very good basketball team this year . . . and if I don't screw them up, we will be a very good team!
Gary_Williams: Byron is a transfer from Tulane and was with us last year. He give us size in the backcourt. Chris is a power forward for us. His strength for us is his ability to get to the rim quickly. He adds the dimension of getting to the front line, which we didn't have before.
Events_Moderator: Are the Terps as good as their preseason rankings?
Gary_Williams: Well the AP came out tonight with us ranked 5th in the US.
Events_Moderator: That's terrific! :-) Congrats!
Gary_Williams: We have been ranked anywhere from 3rd to 9th, but each year you have to prove it once the season starts!
Glas: Gary, I'm from Australia. Can you explain who you are?
Gary_Williams: Well, I'm a basketball coach, that's what I've always done. I've been a high school and college coach and I like each one. I consider myself to be a professional coach and am very proud to be one!
HoopNut: Are you pleased with where all the preseason rankings have the Terps?
Gary_Williams: Well, you work hard to get folks to give you a good ranking. When you look at it, it a good thing to have good preseason rankings.
buffdaddy1234: Who do you think is going to be a tough challenge for you this year?
Gary_Williams: The conference this year has five teams ranked in the top 25, so when you play that many games vs. good teams, there is a tendency to get tired in January and February. Hopefully our depth will help us get through a very tough conference season!
Events_Moderator: With as much depth as you have this year, do you expect to run and press even more than in years past?
Gary_Williams: Well, last year we didn't have much depth, so we played more half court. We have the option this year to press more, run more. Since we played a style last year that was effective, we have to look at what's best for this team because we have most of the players back from last year.
SoCalTerp: What do you think of the slap on the wrist that Minnesota got for all of their rules violations?
Gary_Williams: It was very interesting given the sanctions that Maryland got in 1990. I really don't like to revisit our situation, but obviously the situations have changed with the NCAA.
deterp: If the decision had to be made this minute, would you start Mouton or Miller?
Gary_Williams: LOL . . . Well, the decision doesn't have to be made at this minute! But we have all five starters back, so it will be difficult to break up that group. But Byron Mouton is a very important player for us and I wouldn't hesitate to put him in the game for any situation.
deterp: Bless you :)
Gary_Williams: Thank you!
Events_Moderator: Who are the toughest teams you will face this year?
Gary_Williams: Well, we play a difficult schedule. The Maui tourney has seven teams that were in the finals last year. We return from Maui and play Wisconsin, a final 4 team last year and then play Michigan, another big 10 team. We also play Oklahoma during the ACC season.
HoopNut: Does all the preseason hype add pressure? Especially with your unmet goal of reaching the Final Four?
Gary_Williams: There is pressure and certainly the rankings create more pressure. But it's the kind of pressure you want . . . I would rather have the pressure of being good, then the pressure of just trying to win some games . . . that would be worse pressure.
Glas: Do you honestly believe you have the depth for the conference league
Gary_Williams: Oh, I really do. We have five returning starters from last year. We have our three top subs from last year. We have two new players that can play for us, which will allow us to go 10 deep. That should allow us to play in the conference season.
Events_Moderator: Do you encourage players to go out to draft early or stay in school?
Gary_Williams: It depends on the individual player. Joe Smith was the first player taken in the draft and I encouraged him to go after his sophomore year, after I knew his status in the draft. A player we have this year could have gone into the draft last year, but I encouraged him to stay because I thought it would improve his draft situation next year. So it all depends on the individual player.
SoCalTerp: Are you going to take time to enjoy yourself in Maui? After we win the tournament, that is. I'll be there rooting the Terps on!
Gary_Williams: Thanks for rooting for the Terps! I'll enjoy Maui after we win. There might be a day, but we play three games in three days, so there's not much time to really enjoy Maui.
deterp: One poll had UNC ranked as #2 in the ACC this year. Do you think they can top your #2 team from last year with all the starters returning?
Gary_Williams: Well, it was very competitive between us last year and we managed to finish 2nd behind Duke last year. We would like to win the ACC championship this year, but North Carolina has a very good team this year.
SoCalTerp: Have you talked to Joe about his recent problems?
Gary_Williams: No I haven't. But I talked to him during the summer, and he has had problems with some agents. He is still 25 years old and has a great future in front of him.
Events_Moderator: I hate to say it everyone, but we have to wrap this up in a few minutes. Our time is almost up. We'll take just a few more comments or questions.
HoopNut: What are your goals for Maui? Do you want to win it all or just play well, win or lose?
Gary_Williams: Well, you want to win the Championship. You want to go into anything wanting to win, but since the tourney is in November, you want to play well with some great teams. And you want to keep it in perspective. Because it is early in the season, you want to keep improving as the season goes on.
terptown: Hey, terrific job with the program. I wish you all the best! I'm wondering about your feelings on winning at Duke last year. That was a huge win for you and the program.
Gary_Williams: It was a huge win for the program. Our league includes NC and Duke and they are two great basketball programs. To beat Duke on their court was a great thing for our program in order to try to move to their level, which they earned.
Events_Moderator: Thanks Coach Williams we had a really good time chatting with you. We will have to do this again some time!
deterp: Good luck and we'll see you all on Maui!
Gary_Williams: For those who can go to Maui, we look forward to seeing you there!
HoopNut: Thanks for chatting with us coach!
terptown: Looking forward to a terrific season coach, good luck!
Gary_Williams: For the rest of the Terp fans, we appreciate you being with us!
Events_Moderator: Thanks again for coming everyone. See ya next time at Lycos Live Events.