Tim Williams was one of the guys that we unfortunately hear about far too often — after starting 26 games as a sophomore, Williams saw knee injuries derail his career. Three times over the course of the last two years, Williams had the bad luck of watching his knees fail him.
First, it was a minor fracture in his left knee in November of 2011. Then it was a torn knee-cap in the same knee last April. And, finally, this past October he tore the patella in his left knee.
His career, for all intents and purposes, was over.
But, as Matt Norlander chronicled here, Williams healed quicker than expected:
About a month ago, Williams started to feel stronger. He could lift weights and squat with confidence and do heavier sets than anticipated. He went back to the doctor and wanted another diagnosis. The feeling was if he could be mobile, he could make the best of a situation. The goal came into focus for the man who started 26 games his sophomore year: play at least a few seconds on Senior Night.
It wasn’t until last Friday, when Williams talked to the team trainer, that this became a real possibility. Eight days prior to Senior Night, he pitched his idea. The trainer then brought it up to Gaels coach Randy Bennett after the team’s 87-48 win over Pepperdine last Wednesday. Bennett agreed: If Saint Mary’s was comfortably ahead or behind against Santa Clara, Williams would see the floor, if only for a few seconds.
St. Mary’s had some trouble putting Santa Clara away, but they held a 10 point lead on the final possession and, well, just watch the video:
(Image via St. Mary’s Athletics)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.