February 9, 2010

Freshman guard giving boost off bench

Freshman point guard Vincent Williams isn't sure what his situation would be now had Bulldog coach Mark Fox and assistant Kwanza Johnson not showed up at his high school in Homestead Fla. on Easter Sunday of last year.

But Fox needed some help; not desperate mind you, but with Dustin Ware the only point guard on the roster - the Bulldogs needed some help fast.

Enter Williams, who said if not for his workout before Fox and Johnson resulting in his subsequent offer, there's no telling where he might be playing ball today.

"Probably prep school," the soft-spoken Williams said. "I don't know."

When the season began, not a lot was expected of the slender Williams, who weighed just 139 pounds when he first arrived in Athens last summer.

But as the Bulldogs get ready for Wednesday night's game at SEC rival Auburn, Williams' role on the squad continues to grow.

After playing sparingly for most of the season, Williams wound up playing an integral role for the Bulldogs in last Saturday's 72-58 victory over No. 20 Vanderbilt.

With Ware limited due to the effects of the flu, Williams came through, scoring seven points in a career-best 16 minutes to help spark the Georgia win.

A key 3-pointer with just over three minutes left helped seal the victory.

"Dustin had missed practice and missed the shoot-around so he knew he was going to have to play a larger role, so I think mentally he was prepared to play," Fox said. "He's played well at time, although I think he's been like a typical freshman - up and down, but hopefully he can use the positive performance from the other night to build some confidence and some consistency because the consistent part is what we really need from him."

Williams said he's starting to feel more at ease, although it hasn't been easy for him.

Getting bigger has helped.

Although he's no heavyweight by any stretch, Williams has added 16 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame since he first arrived.

"I'm starting to get real comfortable with it, actually," Williams said. "In the beginning it was really kind of hard for everybody. But I'm getting better."

Ware knows just what Williams has been going through.

Just a sophomore, Ware learned first-hand how difficult it can be learning a new system on the fly in the SEC.

"We talked, especially at the beginning of the year. He was having a tough time adjusting to things and I know exactly how he felt," Ware said. "There's a lot more things coming at you at once, a lot more responsibility when you're in college. But he's definitely done a great job of maturing, just coming along. It's starting to show in his play."

Georgia at Auburn

WHERE: Beard-Eaves Coliseum

WHEN:9 p.m. ET

RECORDS: Georgia 10-11, 2-6; Auburn 11-12 2-6

TV: CSS, ESPN360

RADIO: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network

NEXT UP:South Carolina, Saturday, 4 p.m.

NOTES: Georgia starts the second half of its 2010 SEC schedule with a Wednesday night road game at Auburn. The Bulldogs improved to 10-11 overall, 2-6 in the league, with a 72-58 win over 18th-ranked Vanderbilt at home last Saturday. …
The Vanderbilt win was significant in multiple ways. It marked Georgia's third victory this season over a Top 25 opponent (Georgia Tech and Tennessee were the others.). It also repre-sented the largest second-half deficit (8 points) overcome by the Bulldogs this season. In four other wins they've trailed in the second half, but in none by as many as eight points. … Additionally, Georgia demonstrated its ability to see a second-half lead through to successful conclusion. In five of their six SEC losses, the Bulldogs had either led or been within a single possession of the lead, as the game reached the final minute of play. … Wednesday's game against Auburn will be the 174th all-time meeting between these two programs. Georgia has an 87-86 lead in the series, which has been largely dominated by the home team since 1992, when the SEC was pared into East and West divisions. The visitor, however, has won the past two meetings, most recently by Auburn, 71-59, in Athens last February 18. Georgia won the two teams' last meeting at Auburn by a 59-54 margin on March 4, 2008.

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