Assistant Coach Jason Shay gives instructions to Brian Williams
Feb. 2, 2009
By Drew Rutherford, UT Sports Information
When 6-foot-10-inch center Brian Williams steps onto the hardwood, he usually stands above the rest. Being one of the tallest guys on the floor has numerous advantages for a basketball player. But when the Bronx, N.Y., native steps off the court, his height takes on a different meaning.
"The worst thing about being tall is if I have a booger, everybody can see it," Williams said with a smirk. "And I always notice people's dandruff."
Other than personal-hygiene issues, Williams also said he has a hard time finding clothes big enough to fit him and an even harder time finding size 16 shoes. Using the Internet or buying clothes back home in New York City are his top options when searching for items his size. Even fitting in his bed at night can be difficult.
Life off the basketball court has always presented a different challenge to the Vols' tallest player. In a world where the standard door frame is about 6-foot-8-inches tall, it could be easy for someone of his size to get discouraged. But Williams wouldn't trade his height for a shorter frame; he also sees the bright side of being tall.
"I was taller than the teacher in kindergarten," Williams said, "And ever since, I've been the biggest kid. I stick out like a sore thumb. But all the ladies notice, too. They love the tallness. Sometimes being tall is a good thing. I wish I was taller."
The Vol sophomore has a unique perspective on the world, and as such, he sees some of his teammates in a different light as well.
"From where I stand, J.P. Prince looks like an alien," Williams said--his eyes conveying a sense of seriousness that almost forces one to consider the possibility. "He might be. His head is very, very large. He smells different, too."
By just looking at Williams, most would deduce he was a center and not think twice about it. After all, when he was recruited by Tennessee, it was to play the post position. He played there in high school. But while his body may be that of a center, his soul is that of a guard. He quietly accepts his role as a "big man" as he waits for his chance to step out and run the offense.
"I'm a point guard," the always comedic Williams said. "I have low-post moves, but I'm really better on the perimeter. Coach Pearl knows, but he recruited some others here to play guard so he doesn't want to waste scholarship money. But I should be the point guard."
While weather may affect him first, Williams does not mind his height at all. As he ducks to go through a door, crams into a classroom desk or presses his knees against a car dashboard, he just lives life with a positive attitude. He greets any snide remark about his height with a light-hearted joke of his own.
"I'm a joker," Williams said. "Whenever people joke with me I always get them back. I make them cry."
Being nearly seven feet tall is an attribute that was out of Williams' control. His height provides him with a unique way of seeing the world that only those who share his altitude can understand. But his life isn't all that different--and he spends it looking forward, not looking down.