By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
By Jason Elmquist
Looking at Oklahoma State basketball player Brian Williams’ face you wouldn’t think that he had received some of the worst news a competitive athlete can hear.
Then you look down at his left arm in a sling and realize just how much it has to hurt the redshirt sophomore to know before his season even began it’s already over.
Last week, Williams sustained a wrist injury to his non-shooting hand when he slipped off the rim on a dunk. Williams was scheduled to get an MRI on the wrist today, with the likelihood that he will be out for three months before even being able to start rehab — effectively keeping him out of the Cowboy season that starts with an exhibition on Nov. 1.
“It’s tough because I was in the trenches with these guys all of last year when we had a below .500 season and I was just expecting to come out and redeem Cowboy basketball with these guys,” Williams said while smiling during Monday’s OSU basketball media day. “But now they’ve got to do it without me.”
Though the Baton Rouge, La., native will be sidelined for the season, coach Travis Ford felt it was still important to have Williams — who Ford named as a co-captain in early August — be involved with Monday’s media day.
“He’s ‘Coach Williams’ at this point, so it’s important that he’s around,” Ford said. “He’s going to have a role on this basketball team this year — there’s no question about it. I didn’t name him a captain of this basketball team just to be nice to him. He earned it.
“He has a great deal of respect from his teammates. His teammates know he does everything the right way. ... He’s probably the most high-energy guy, that never got tired and we’ve lost him. And a guy who I didn’t hardly run any plays for and he still figured out how to score 12 points per game in conference play. So we’ve got some things to account for.”
For Williams, it meant a lot — proving the coaches want him to still be a part of the team, instead of simply relegating him to the trainer’s table.
“That lets me know that they hold me at the highest regard,” said Williams, who will likely take a medical redshirt this season. “They still want me to be around, still at every practice, still at all the workouts. So it’s important to me because I want to come back and jump right back into it — I don’t want to be lost when I come back.”
With Williams expected to be around his teammates in practice and games, he said he’ll have to take a solid mental approach to not come off as a negative presence — like some players moping about injuries could cause.
“All I can do is be patient. I heard a phrase when I was younger, ‘Time is everything,’” Williams said. “So I’ve just got to wait until I’m healthy and then step in and do what I can.”
It will be hard for him, however, as well as for his teammates. Williams was the consummate team player and was OSU’s top defender.
As for Michael Cobbins, who came to Stillwater in the same class as Williams and took a redshirt his first year on campus just like Williams, he said it will be tough not having Williams on the court alongside him.
“It’s extremely difficult. We came in together (with Markel Brown) as the Three Musketeers and you just hate to see something like that happen to somebody you’re really close with,” Cobbins said. “I saw it happen from beginning to end and once he started yelling I just knew that something wasn’t right.”