JYD Fantastic Fit For Findlay
TORONTO – Speaking to Hoops Hype Canada via cell phone from Toronto, newly appointed Findlay Prep Head Coach Jerome Williams spoke sincere about his new coaching gig Wednesday afternoon. Williams will take over for predecessor Todd Simon who served as Associate Head Basketball Coach of Findlay Prep for the past five seasons.
Parents and prospective Prep players both require patience …
noun- the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
Also an ability to persist.
per·sist [pər -zist]
verb- to last or endure tenaciously: The legend of King Arthur has persisted for nearly fifteen centuries.
Patience and persistence is what epitomized the basketball career of former Raptor Jerome Williams, also known as the Junk Yard Dog.
Lets just say Jerome Williams came up through High School “unknown” and that is “putting it politely” according to Williams. In 1992, as an undersized 6-2 forward from Magruder HS, JYD was too small to play forward at Georgetown. Williams appeared headed for American University but opted to go to junior college instead and work on his game. After a freshman season that included countless hours in the classroom, at home, and even at a part time job to afford tuition, it was a tumultuous transition. Except he grew a whole 7′ inches. Thanks to his growth spurt Williams had grown to 6-9, averaging 26 points and 17 rebounds a game at Montgomery College. With newfound size and great SAT scores. Georgetown was very interested. Offering him an opportunty to become a member of the Hoyas for his JR & SR college years. A opportunity to cross paths and inherit tutelage from a legendary hall of fame coach John Thompson. More importantly a chance to exploit and embrace free education from a renowned institution.
From 1994 to 1996, Jerome Williams became one of the program’s most proficient
rebounders. Once described as “Dennis Rodman without the attitude”, Williams
helped elevate the Georgetown defense during the Allen Iverson era. In his first
five games with the team, Williams picked up 65 rebounds, part of a junior
season where he averaged 31 minutes a game and 10 rebounds a game. At season’s
end he became the first forward since Reggie Williams (no relation) to lead the
team in rebounds. More notably Williams graduated college with honours. Following the foot steps of his college coach John Thompson. When asked what he absorbed most from Coach Thompson Jerome answered. “Education. He was one of the first coaches who was also a player, played 10 years in the NBA backing up Bill Russell but what resonated with me most was he was just as proud of graduating college.” Also adding “Coach always reiterated what education from Georgetown University could help enable for us in the future”. The college experience was invaluable for Jerome Williams, who called his Georgetown graduation the proudest moment of his life.
Drafted out of Georgetown University by the Detroit Pistons with the 26th pick of the 1996 NBA draft (the pick originally belonged to the San Antonio Spurs and went to the Pistons in the Dennis Rodman trade), he played four-plus years with the Pistons, becoming one of their key reserves.
Williams work ethic, patience and persistence later paid dividends at the next level. During his tenure under Doug Collins (who had .521 Winning % in 11 seasons as head coach) Williams gained experience under a reputable NBA head coach and in partnership with his older brother Johnnie they in Detroit, established youth groups and created affordable housing options for working class families. With his brother, he founded “Positive Shades of Black”, an education incentive program for elementary school students. Both became visible examples of the importance of education and community involvement, taking on initiatives with much the same passion that drove Jerome in two years of basketball at Georgetown.
With a blueprint of community involvement in place and ready to execute, plans were derailed one night while travelling on a team bus with both teammates and the Pistons management team. Williams via cellphone was initially notified of a trade through a cellular convesation with a friend. When Williams approached management about the transaction, the deal was confirmed. Holding no personal feelings towards the Pistons organization Jerome jumped into his personal vehicle that night and stuck by his motto. “First one to practice, Last one to leave” He sure did. Williams arrived in time for morning practice and from that moment forward became a hit in Toronto.
Under hall of fame coach Lenny Wilkens Jerome enjoyed his best years in the association. He became a fan favorite during his days playing for the Toronto Raptors due to his tenacious efforts on the court. In 2002-03 JYD led Toronto in rebounding with 9.2 rebounds per game. Still untill this day Jerome Williams is arguably the most popular Toronto Raptor hands down. Williams ended up playing 9 seasons in the NBA meanwhile he was paid for 12.
Henderson International FINDLAY (NV) Prep
Post retirement. Williams and family followed his parents to Henderson, Nevada. A suburb of Las Vegas. His son attended The Henderson International. It was through his sons education Jerome Williams first crossed paths with the Las Vegas basketball program. It only made sense, that due to demographics, in some capacity Williams would eventually contribute to the local basketball program. His first interaction at a Findlay practice Williams remembers his first impression, “I get there and Avery Bradley is D’ing me up. I was like Man, this guy I know is going pro. Right away it was obvious” Most NBA veterans who can say they were coached by hall of fame coaches before offering their services would most likely demand a head coaching job. Not Williams, Jerome decided to pay dues. Volunteering for 5 seasons. From Volunteer, to Head of Player Development to Associate Head Coach last season. Tasks that even involved teaching Life Skill classes and Global Citizenship courses. Williams was in his natural element. Now Williams embarks this fall on the first head coaching stint of his career.
Proof In Pudding
Jerome Williams patience and persistence are second to none. Personality traits parents should desire to be instilled into their children JYD is a expert at. You cant find a coach in America who values exploiting education more then Jerome Williams either. Ask his coaches, not a story involving friction, not even a peep of ever “going against the system.” Strong signs cementing a reputation that Jerome Williams was a consumate professional. This is they type of A+ individuals aspiring elite basketball players from all over the globe crave and Parents dream of.
X’s and O’s skeptics are still critical often referring to a notion “but he’s a big man” and perhaps the repuation of Findlay developing guards will take a toll. His predecessor Todd Simon doesnt seem the least bit concerned. “No chance. All four coaches from staff return. Development program was in place before coach joined and with staff staying intact it will certainly be quite simular” coach explained via text. Music to the ears of perimeter players. Simon added “Coach Williams brings a wealth of NBA experience from some of the best coaches (Wilkens, Collins, Skiles, Gentry etc) something few programs can boast. Coach Johnson and the crew have been apart of all these All-Americans and draft picks. I wouldnt undersell their importance either”
Coach Simon said it best Junk Yard Dog deserved and earned this opportunity. Little do most know and soon will realize that Findlay Prep found themselves a crown jewell in Coach Jerome. Jerome Williams was a phenominal rebounder. He may even be a better head coach.
“Coach Williams has been a great asset to the Findlay Prep program and I couldnt be more excited for he and the staff. The energy and experience of he and the staff with the Findlay way of doing things will be great for the program” Coach Simon concluded.
Keep in mind JYD’s success on the court only scratches the surface compared to his accomplishments off the court. He has created city wide mentoring programs that were established and maintained in both Detroit and Toronto. Needless to say Findlay Prep couldnt of found a better coach or a better teacher.