February 18, 2012

Williams holding his own

Sophomore Donte Williams will be the first to admit this season has taken a physical toll on his 6-foot-9 frame.

Considering he routinely goes against players at his position who weigh 20, sometimes 30 or more pounds than he does, that fact shouldn't come as a huge surprise.

"Every SEC has big guys it seems," Williams said before practice Saturday. "Mississippi State has (Renardo) Sydney, Florida has (Patric) Young, Vanderbilt has (Festus) Ezeli … every game you play you've got to play against guys bigger than you are."

Williams - who will test his skill against Ezeli and the visiting Commodores (18-8, 7-4) Sunday at 1 p.m. (FNS) - isn't kidding.

Although he weighed 223 heading into the current campaign, the wear and tear of the season combined with the almost daily practice schedule has caused Williams to drop approximately seven pounds to its current level of 215.

"It's really hard to maintain the weight; you just try to do the best you can," Williams said. "But I'm still a lot bigger than when I first got here. When I came here I weighed 197 and then got up to 222. Eventually, I'd like to get to 230 or 235."

Williams, who is averaging 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds, hopes the extra year in the team's strength program will get him to that mark next season.

"I think I'll still be athletic and mobile, but obviously I'd be stronger," Williams said. "I'll probably finish more plays, take more hits; go through the contact."

Head coach Mark Fox explains just how tough it's been.

"Just do a comparison to football, if a team is running the ball every play and you're outsized by 30 pounds - that wears on you," Fox said. "Donte is a tough kid, but with another year in the weight room and as he continues to mature physically, he will look back at this year and be grateful he had it."

Still, Fox said Williams has held his own for Georgia (12-13, 3-8) which will look to rebound from Wednesday night's 57-56 loss at South Carolina.

"He's playing with a great deal more (confidence); he's just more experienced. He didn't play great the other night, but that was the first time he hasn't played well in a long time. He's a guy who has gotten so much better this year and has a very, very bright future. When Marcus (Thornton) went down, Donte was the only experienced front-line player we had and he's had to play a lot of minutes at the center position when he's really a power forward, so he's had a lot to deal with this year. "

Still, Williams knows he'll need a better effort than the one he gave against South Carolina, when he went just 3-of-8 from the field and pulled down just four rebounds.

"I had some good attempts, the ball just didn't go in," Williams said. "Sometimes you have games like that; you've just got to move on."

With seven games in double-figures, Williams believes improvements have been made.

"Before every game I tell myself that I'm going to try and get better, better and better," he said. "I'm just trying to do whatever. I think I'm getting more comfortable with every game I play, the more SEC games I play."

NOTES: Sunday's game will mark just the second home contest for the Bulldogs this month. When Georgia and Vanderbilt last met, the Commodores took a 77-76 victory, although the game was close until the final five minutes before foul trouble ruined whatever chances the Bulldogs had of a victory. For the only time in the past six seasons, three Bulldogs fouled
out of the game.