The question needs to be asked of Charlotte 49ers senior forward Terrence Williams:
Where has all this been hiding during your four-year basketball career, which is approaching its close?
“I don’t know,” said Williams, who will play the final home game of his career Saturday when the 49ers (13-17, 6-11) host Marshall (11-19, 7-10) in a Conference USA game at Halton Arena. “The season is coming down to an end and I’m just trying to give it my all.”
Williams’ “all” translates into what’s been an unprecedented stretch for him over the last six games. He’s averaging 19.0 points in those games, including a career-high 27 in an 88-84 overtime loss against Western Kentucky on Thursday. His 21 points earlier against Texas-San Antonio and 25 against North Texas were also career highs at the time.
Interim coach Ryan Odom has his own take on what’s made Williams so special as his senior season winds down.
“Sometimes, and I’ve talked to him about this, with a lot of seniors, it’s that when it gets close to the end, they realize it and they want to slow the clock down,” said Odom. “There’s a heightened sense of urgency for them.”
Williams came out of West Mecklenburg High in 2010 as part of 49ers coach Alan Major’s first full recruiting class. He’s been a mainstay in Charlotte’s lineup for all of his four years alongside the more highly decorated point guard Pierria Henry, starting 82 games. At 6-foot-5, Williams has been a utility player, playing both forward positions and becoming a solid rebounder and defender. He averaged 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds entering this season.
But his recent emergence as an offensive threat – his senior-season sense of urgency notwithstanding – has come from a switch to power forward. Williams has used that size mismatch (he usually goes against taller players now) to his benefit.
“I grew up as a kid playing the big-man role,” he said. “Now I take advantage if the defender tries to run at me, I’ll drive to the basket or give the ball to my teammates to close it out. Or I’ll just shoot it. It all depends on how they approach me.”
Williams, who will graduate on time this spring with a degree in criminal justice, said he has bittersweet feelings about his 49ers career, which includes just one postseason appearance (the National Invitational Tournament his sophomore season) and an overall record of 64-60.
“For me and Pierria, we want to go out with a good resume,” said Williams. “We know we haven’t done as good as we should have. But we still need to play hard the last couple of games so we can feel good about leaving here.
“Looking back, there were a lot of not-good times but, overall, there were a lot of good times. I’m pretty sure I’m happy I came here to play basketball.”
Terrence Williams’ hot streak