Williams wiser, hungrier after horrific crashInjured point guard T.J. Ford will be facing his next medical examination sometime in early April and, according to coach Terry Porter, that will go a long way toward determining whether Ford will be able to play at all this summer for the Bucks. Earlier, when the Bucks declared Ford out for the season, they expressed hope that he would be able to take part in a couple of practices before the end of the season. That is no longer in the plans, but the Bucks are holding out hope that Ford might be able to participate some with the summer team. "I think April is going to be a big month for him," Porter said. "They're going to know more in April and that's going to tell if he can play in the summer league or not. That's what they're telling us. That's going to tell a lot going forward about what approach they'll take next." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
March 30, 2005
By Justin Breen / Post-Tribune staff writer
MISHAWAKA — Jay Williams glanced around, fixing his eyes on the oodles of talented basketball players filling Bethel College’s Wiekamp Center on Monday.
Williams was once one of them — a McDonald’s High School All-American — the cream of each season’s basketball crop.
Many of these players will land in the NBA, earning millions of bucks, but Williams felt a rather unusual way about that.
“You get scared for them because of the instant gratification,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of guys who just disappear.”
Williams almost vanished following his near-fatal motorcycle accident on June 19, 2003.
On his Yamaha bike, Williams shifted the engine into neutral and gunned the motor. But the motorcycle stayed in gear, causing a blistering acceleration that eventually jumped the bike over a curve and into a utility pole. Williams fractured his pelvis, tore ligaments in his left knee and severed a main nerve in his left leg.
Williams had been the college player of the year, the No. 2 overall selection by the Bulls in the NBA draft and a member of the all-NBA second team. In an instant, he had transformed from a future star into a near-suicidal hospital patient. Doctors told the former Duke standout that he would never walk again.
“People can give you all the advice in the world, but you do what you want to do. That’s what I learned from my motorcycle ride,” said Williams, who violated his NBA contract, which forbids players from riding motorcycles.
Williams has been working as an analyst at ESPN for the last year. On Monday, Williams commented on the All-American Game’s Jam Fest, while he wore a tan sportcoat and pants, white shirt, brown shoes and blue tie. Prior to the event, he removed his coat and shot free throws and 3-pointers, making most of them while fans took his photo.
Most of his time is spent in Durham, N.C., where he rehabs at Duke Medical Center. Williams, who appeared to walk just fine Monday, said his health is almost at 100 percent.
By the start of next season, he hopes to land a spot on an NBA roster. Williams said Houston and a few other teams have shown interest.
“My body is feeling great,” Williams said. “I think it’s a matter of time. But I’m really taking my time. I don’t want to make a horrible mistake and come back too soon. I want to come back and kick some butt.
“For me, I’m at a junction in my life. Basketball was taken away from me for a year and a half. But it’s been a blessing in disguise.”
The Bulls, with former Blue Devils Chris Duhon and Luol Deng beat Memphis on Monday for their sixth straight victory. At 38-31, the Bulls, who have not made the playoffs since 1998, are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
Williams, who still has a place in Chicago, said he’s overjoyed with the Bulls’ success.
“For such a young team, they’re all doing an unbelievable job,” said Williams, who believes the Bulls are one star free agent player away from becoming an elite NBA club.
On Monday, many of the All-Americans strolled over to Williams, just to shake his hand. Anybody could tell he felt at home, in his perfect environment.
“Basketball, it’s like gravy,” Williams said. “It’s made me feel how special life can be.”