Alford says Williams will play Wednesday, not saying yet if he'll start

Posted at: 01/14/2013 7:43 PM
Updated at: 01/14/2013 9:54 PM
By: J.P. Murrieta, KOB Eyewitness Sports 4

UNM head coach Steve Alford told us on Wednesday that guard Kendall Williams will play against Boise State, but whether or not he starts will be determined in the next 48 hours.

Alford suspended Williams for the Fresno State game after the junior failed to show up on time for a team meeting. 

“They’re not easy decisions, you sit there and go ‘It needs to be done but it could also hurt the team’, but it’s the right thing to do,” Alford said during a Mountain West teleconference call.  The head coach went on to say creating different consequences for different people will create dissention.  “One, you run the risk of losing your team, but I think to a greater extent you run the risk of losing your entire program.”

This was the second time within a month Williams was late to a team function.  In December,  Alford chose not to start Williams against South Dakota State after he showed up late to the game.  “It’s not like we have 15 pages of rules, it’s pretty simple but everybody is going to adhere to things and stand by the same standards,” said Alford.

Alford hopes punishment like the one handed down will bring the team together as a unit.  “Even if those consequences mean short term hurting the team, those are things the whole team is going to have to go through and then you hope the whole team pulls closer together and works to do the right things individually and collectively.”

“It’s not an easy thing to do as a coach, but playing for my dad and playing for Coach (Bob) Knight, I’ve learned it’s not always about the easiest decision.  It’s what’s right for the team, it’s what’s right for the program.  Regardless, we could have lost that game to Fresno I might have been a lot more upset on Sunday but I still would felt good as a coach that we did the right thing.”

Alford told us on Monday afternoon, he looks as his players as an extension of his own children.  He doesn’t like dishing out punishment, but when it’s needed he has to come down on the guilty party. “If there’s no discipline, you’ve got chaos,” said Alford.  "Now I expect those who get disciplined to respond the way they're should to respond and that's a very mature way and an unselfish way and put team first and as long as that happens then the consequences go away."

Williams leads the Lobos scoring over 14 points a game.  Alford wasn't ready on Monday to say Williams would start this week at Boise State, but he did leave the door open for that possibility.

"As long as I feel like it's over and done with and he can learn a lesson, then there's no reason for him not to be in the starting lineup," Alford said following Monday's practice.