NEW YORK – Former Duke University and NBA basketball star Jay Williams is ready to take on all challengers at the Super 60 II Friday night at the 104th Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Launched in 2010, the Super 60 II is a 60-meter proving ground for stars to showcase the universal component of speed in all sports, and to help determine which sport has the most potent combination of power, speed and acceleration.
In addition to Williams, other challengers include Super 60 I champion Anthony Dorsett, Jr., who will defend his title against MLS star and L.A. Galaxy standout Bryan Jordan , Olympic gold medalist bobsledder and Buffalo native Steve Mesler, the Houston Texans’ speedster wide receiver Jacoby Jones and former MLB all-star Junior Spivey.
The 104th Millrose Games will be contested Friday, January 28, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. The first event of USA Track & Field’s Visa Championship Series, the Millrose Games will be televised live from 8-10 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2.
Born in Plainfield, N.J., Jay Williams graduated in 1999 from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, where he was New Jersey Player of the Year, a Parade All-American, a USA Today first team All-American, and a McDonald’s All-American. Williams played collegiately at Duke University and led the Blue Devils to the 2001 NCAA title as a sophomore, scoring a school record 841 points in the season and averaging 25.7 ppg in the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, he won the Naismith Award as the country’s best college player. He graduated from Duke a year early, in 2002, and was the second player taken in the NBA draft, going to the Chicago Bulls. A 2003 motorcycle accident cut his NBA career short, but he made a comeback in 2006 and was briefly with the New Jersey Nets. He currently is an ESPN analyst.
Excerpts from a recent interview with Williams follow:
Q: What did you think when you were first approached about competing in this event?
A: “I was a little hesitant, considering that I haven’t necessarily been sprinting for a while. But then as I thought about it more and more, my competitive juices started to flow, and obviously for all the athletes competing in this we’re all extremely competitive and we all accomplished some pretty amazing feats as well. It takes a certain type of personality and mentality to accomplish those major feats, so competing against the best makes you an athlete and those competitive juices never stop flowing.”
Q: The legendary Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden has quite a history and aura about it. What do you think competing there will be like for you?
A: “I’m gonna love it. It reminds me of the times when I played, just like being an analyst right now. You play in front of 25,000 people you kind of block everybody out and focus on what you have to focus on. It’s the same thing I do now in doing television and doing big-time games, you kind of fall back into that athlete mentality where you become very myopic. You put the horse blinders on and all I’m going to see is my lane. I’m not really going to see anyone else around me and I’m going to try to win it. A couple guys are talking a little trash via Twitter, so it’s going to be an enjoyable day and the weather is going to be cold outside, which will make it that much homier and warm indoors. It should be a really fun experience.”
Q: What kind of training have you been doing? Have you been practicing starts out of the blocks?
A: “I haven’t necessarily been training just doing sprints, but I still train every day. I box and I run, so I can actually say from playing basketball my entire life you never really lose that first step. Now will I be able to maintain that first step? That will be interesting considering that I’m going against some top guys, who are pretty fast. It should make for a pretty interesting matchup.”
Q: Tony Dorsett, Jr. is the defending champion of this event. Is he the man to beat?
A: “You know what, I’m not going to get to trash talking right now, but I think you got a lot of champions in this race coming on. I know he’s the champion from last year, but each year brings a new crop, and the one thing I can say is it reminds of something Coach K (Duke Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski) said going into the following year after winning the national championship in college ‘There never really is a defending champion, there’s always a new year and set of circumstances and new things that happen.’ So this is a new match and there will be a new champion.”
Q: “As a New Jersey native, will you have some friends and family on hand to cheer you on?
A: “I’ve invited a couple friends. My mom is down in North Carolina and won’t be able to make it, and my dad is down there too. I will definitely have friends there considering that I lived in Jersey City, which is about a mile outside of New York City through the Holland Tunnel. So I should have a lot of friends there and it should make for a very interesting day.”
Q: Of the major team sports in the U.S., which athletes are best suited to be quality sprinters?
A: “I think that’s hard to really compare. I think every athlete has a different set of circumstances that they have to train for. I know in basketball we do a lot of quick, reactionary sprints, and that’s what it is. You have a short amount of time to rest. In football, you can see them being really good, especially guys who are wide receivers or running backs because they do a lot of long sprints. The one thing about professional basketball, football or baseball is we all train year-round and train in different ways. It’ll come down to who is faster.
A Night at The Garden
Fans can experience a night at the world renowned Madison Square Garden – with the ambience, history and great international competition that Millrose has to offer – on any budget. Tickets for the 104th
Millrose Games range from $15-$100 and are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office (212-465-6073) or through Ticketmaster (http://www.ticketmaster.com/Millrose-Games-tickets/artist/8476222