Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACING REALITY UF's Williams Getting Dreams in Focus on Court

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACING REALITY UF's Williams Getting Dreams in Focus on Court

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE - The beginning was actually the end of an

emotionally draining yearlong battle for LeRon Williams.

He had thought long and hard about quitting the Florida

basketball team, playing agonizing games of what-if with his

future until the only answer he could find was right in front of

him.

LeRon Williams finally met LeRon Williams a month ago. And just

in time.

``To be honest, I was being really selfish,'' Williams said. ``I

was thinking of myself instead of the big picture.''

The problem is, it hadn't been easy not to From Page C-1 hthink

of anything else.

A high school All-American, Williams came to Florida last season

with high hopes and big dreams. By the end of last season, he

was a seldom-used reserve and as frustrated as he ever had been

playing sports.

Three games into this season - after playing nine meaningless

minutes against George Washington - he decided to quit. LeRon

Williams, the biggest recruit in years at Florida, the player

with so much in front of him, was ready to leave it all behind.

So he walked into Florida coach Lon Kruger's office and laid it

all out. Kruger, who has built the Florida program with a

foundation of fundamentals and work ethic, didn't budge.

``He told me, `What makes you think you're going to work harder

anywhere else?''' Williams said.

For the first time since he stepped on campus at UF, LeRon

Williams finally saw what he couldn't seem to find all those

months. The next night, he went out and had 17 points and seven

rebounds against UMass and All-America center Marcus Camby.

``It wasn't as if he wasn't working in practice, he just needed

to practice better with more purpose,'' Kruger said. ``LeRon is

only starting to tap what he's capable of doing, and he's

capable of taking big steps from there.''

Therein lies the problem of the past two seasons. Williams (6

feet 7, 215 pounds) has the size and athletic ability to

dominate and control games. …

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