FULL NAME / DATE OF BIRTH
Yorrick Williams / 29 – 7 – 75
PLACE OF BIRTH
St Thomas Aquinas, Chorlton, Manchester
St Petersberg Jnr College, Florida
AT WHAT AGE DID YOU START PLAYING BASKETBALL
WHY DID YOU START PLAYING BASKETBALL
Because I was no good at football
WAS IT EASY TO FIND PLACES TO PLAY
No, at first the only place to play was at school, but then I tried out for the Manchester Giants and started to play on a regular basis
WHAT TEAMS HAVE YOU PLAYED FOR
Manchester Giants U15s, Bolton U17s at Canon Slade, Manchester Giants U19s & U23s. Giants senior team when aged 17 , Derby Storm.
BEST PLAYER YOU’VE EVER PLAYED WITH
There are so many, but I must mention Mark Robinson. He’s really easy to play with. Other guys are Kirk Baker, Ron Rutland, and Cameron Johnson.
YOU WERE TEAMMATES WITH MARK AT MANCHESTER, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING AGAINST HIM
Yea! It should be a good match-up. I don’t know if I’ll get to defend him but it should be a good challenge for my skills. He’s probably the best all round player in the Budleague and he really knows the game inside out. He reads it better than anyone else and he’s been coached by the great Bobby Knight. He’s the full package.
WHAT ARE YOU THOUGHTS ON THE BRITISH GAME
Young English players like myself need more court time if we are to develop. The problem, I think, is the 5 American rule. It was much better when we had just two Americans because the coaches had to find and develop English players. I’d like to see more of that happening. Right now it’s just international ball. I think it’s better in Europe where they still have just two Americans. We need to get back to that stage in this country.
WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR COACHES OVER THE YEARS
The first two were Fitzroy Wallace and Neville Mills who were there from the very beginning, and then guys like Dave West, Jeff Watson, Simon Mahoney and Jeff Jones. But perhaps the coach who had the biggest effect on my game was Mike Hanks at the Giants. He calmed my game down and got me more focussed on what was required for the team to win. Now, of course there’s Bob Donewald.
WHO WAS THE BEST AND WHY
I think I would have to say Mike Hanks because of the discipline he instilled in me. He was a tough coach and we didn’t always see eye to eye, but he really did teach me a few good things – not only about the game but about myself as well.
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED THAT YOU ARE NOT PLAYING FOR YOUR HOMETOWN TEAM THE MANCHESTER GIANTS
I think I needed a change. Don’t get me wrong, they are a great organisation but in order to develop and be taken seriously, I needed to leave and I’m glad I made the move.
HOW DID YOU GET THE JOB AT DERBY STORM
Coach Bob Donewald made some enquiries through the Basketball Players Association and then we had a chat. I liked what he was saying and we made the deal.
WHAT’S IT LIKE PLAYING FOR BOB DONEWALD
Man it’s great. It’s my style of basketball. When we need to run we run, when we need to slow it sown then that’s what we do. Then we play in-your-face-defence. As a team we got off to a great start but since then we’ve lost a few. But I believe we are now back on track. We had some difficulties with injuries but with the addition of Mo Robinson and the return of Nate, I think the Storm is ready to party again.
WHY IS THE SPIRIT SO GOOD AT THE DERBY STORM
It’s fantastic! Everybody is like a family, from the Chairman, Mike Horton to the General Manger Tony Ironmongher to Coach Bob Donewald. It’s a great management team. Nothing is too much trouble for them. Everybody knows what we have to do and everyone wants to win. But despite that, there’s no pressure. Best of all they allow all the players to be ourselves . That’s why the spirit is so good.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RECENT TELEVISED GAME AGAINST MANCHESTER GIANTS
Manchester played a great game and they made no mistakes. Unfortunately we were not on our best game. I have to say I didn’t think the officiating was great that night, but we have to play them again. I think the next time it’s going to be different.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE DEFENDING DORSEY
The officials really did not allow me to defend him the way I could, they blew for everything. I now know what they are going to allow. The next time we meet I’ll have a different strategy. The battle goes on.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
My main weakness is my physical strength but I am getting stronger day by day. That’s a physical thing, but I don’t really see it as a weakness in my game. Some people say make him go left , but I’ll just as easily dunk on you going left as right. Otherwise as the defence collapses, I’ll just dish for my man Nate or my man Joel to stick the three.
DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE BECOMING A BEACON FOR YOUNGER PLAYERS GROWING UP IN MOSSSIDE AND OTHER AREAS
I don’t know if I’m a beacon but I am well known in the area. When I go down to the courts anywhere in Manchester I get nuff respect. I think people know what I am achieving and they respect that. When I’m out on the court working out, there are always youngsters wanting to take me one-on-one. I don’t think they do well against me.
YOU PLAYED FOR THE MANCHESTER GIANTS SENIOR TEAM WHEN YOU WERE JUST 17 AND YOU HAD THAT MAGNIFICENT DUNK ON THE TREVOR GORDON ASSIST IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL. BUT THEN YOU SEEMED TO DISAPPEAR FROM THE GAME AS A WHOLE.
Well I don’t think I had really arrived as yet. I got some early chances with coach Mike Hanks, but my discipline was not there. Add to that the fact that I was not really allowed to make mistakes. The older players would do something wrong and that was that. If I did something wrong I was benched. I think that dunk in the semi-final really showed some of the potential I had in my game.
WHY DID YOU FEEL IT NECESSARY TO SPEND A YEAR AT COLLEGE IN THE STATES
The problem I have is the mentality of some of the coaches in this country. The believe you HAVE to go to America to develop your game. The exception was Bob Donewald. He wanted me to play for him when he first arrived in this country. He believed in me.
I had great fun in the States, the team was full of athletes and everyone of us could play. But it’s the same game. I did improve my shot selection. I was 2nd leading scorer in the State and had the best shooting percentage. It was a good all round experience. We won the Suncoast Conference and we all got a championship ring. We then got beat in the State Tournament . It was great fun and I’m really glad I went.
WHAT DO YOU STILL WANT TO ACHIEVE
I want to win some silverware in this country. Maybe a championship or something. We have a team that can really do it. But most of all, I just want to be the best I can be.
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR GAME
On the whole, yes, but I think I can still improve my shot selection. I need to be a little more aggressive on defence. I’m not out to make friends on the court. I’m out to win the game with my team and we might be best friends off court but once we step on the court…IT’S BUSINESS.
WHAT ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF YOUR BEING SELECTED FOR THE UP COMING ENGLAND GAMES
It’s funny you should ask about that, as I recently got a letter from Coach Laszlo Nemeth and Brian Aldred about those games. I hope I get picked as I’m really looking forward to representing my country. But it’s not just that, I would really love to play in an England shirt with Steve Bucknall. I played against him in the Pro-Am this summer and he knows how to play and how to win. We could make some real noise together.
THE FINAL WORD
I would just like to give nuff respect to all my boys in the Manchester area – in Cheetham Hill, Mossside, Chorlton, Sale and Salford. Without the help I get from all of my boys, none of this would be possible. They really keep me on the straight and narrow.
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