There isn’t a cliché built around the name Williams, but maybe there should be. You know, like “keeping up with the Williamses” or “in like Williams.”
Because it was the Williams’ show Saturday in the Kennel during Gonzaga’s 82-61 West Coast Conference win over Pacific.
And there were plenty of clichés as well.
The one Williams on the Pacific side – Jack – led the Tigers with 16 points, nine rebounds and four steals.
And the one Williams on the broadcast team – Francis – led in clichés.
Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing in the realm of sports broadcasting, as clichés have earned their status because they describe events that occur over and over again.
They are a shared language sports fans all understand.
But when you string them together, it can grow wearisome. As it did during halftime of another workmanlike Bulldog win.
Gonzaga led by 13 at intermission and the talk between Williams and play-by-play man Tom Glasgow, as it does often this time of year, turned toward the NCAA tournament.
And Williams dropped this statement.
“Well, it’s that time of the year, as we get closer to tournament time, Gonzaga ranked No. 1 in the country and they know all eyes are on them,” the former NBA scout said. “I think they are really circling the wagons, really trying to use a lot of what the doubters are saying about them as motivation, so I think as we talk about here in league play and people saying they haven’t had the tough contests, haven’t really played anyone since holiday time, they’ve got to stay sharp, they’ve got to keep that edge.
“So I think they are finding things outside of what’s going on here, they are using those type of situations as motivation.”
By an unofficial count, that was a 113-word statement highlighted by seven clichés.
What made that halftime comment stand out is Williams isn’t usually prone to falling back on shopworn phrases. His depth of basketball knowledge is such that he doesn’t have to.
He was singing Johnathan Williams’ praises early in this Root broadcast, shown in Spokane on KHQ, as the 6-foot-9 Missouri transfer dominated the first half on both ends.
“He might not have plays run for him” Williams the analyst said about Williams the player, “but he finds ways to stuff the stat sheet.”
Later, Williams emphasized the athletic power forward’s role come the physical battles that make up the NCAA tournament.
And there was this about Williams-Goss, which catches the essence of the point guard’s importance to the Zags: “He knows how to deliver the ball on time and on target.”
But the best segment Williams had came midway through the first half when he broke down video of Williams-Goss’ game, pointing out his effect on the offensive and defensive ends.
There were no clichés, just strong basketball knowledge.
With Glasgow describing the action using the bare minimum of words – an underappreciated asset in the play-by-play chair – it also left Williams time to delve into Gonzaga’s success stories.
One big area he focused upon was Przemek Karnowki’s presence and how the 7-footer has improved his athleticism since last year’s back injury.
Twice, Karnowski attempted to dunk in traffic. He was successful once. But no matter, the aggressiveness was what Williams admired.
“He’s got to go up and attack the rim like that,” Williams said after the missed second-half attempt.
And Glasgow quietly added his wonderment the rim survived.
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