For fans of the Connecticut Huskies, the name Marcus Williams brings back memories of marvelous team success. More times than not, Williams was the driving force behind all that the Huskies achieved.
After posting mediocre numbers during his freshman season, Williams came back with an excellent sophomore campaign. He finished with averages of 9.6 points and a conference-leading 7.8 assists, thus winning the Big East Most Improved Player of the Year award.
The following season, Williams again led the Big East in assists at 8.6 per game. Despite facing his second career suspension, Williams rallied back and led the Huskies to an Elite Eight berth. In the Sweet Sixteen, Williams made his local legend by scoring a career-high 26 points.
From there, Williams tested the NBA waters and went in the second round to the New Jersey Nets.
Some projected Williams to be the next great Nets point guard, but that never panned out. Williams played for three teams in four NBA seasons and eventually found his best success with Piratas de Quebradillas in Puerto Rico—a league where he played for one year and was the assists leader, All-Star Game MVP, Skills Contest winner and All-League selection.
In 2010-11, Williams made the move to Russia, where he played for BC Enisey. Williams continued to thrive as a facilitator, but scouts grew concerned with his shot selection. The suddenly development of a three-ball began to silence the questions and suggest that the future is bright.
After spending time in Russia and China, respectively, Williams signed on with Baloncesto Malaga of the Spanish ACB. It is there that Williams continues to thrive as a distributor.
According to David Pick of EuroBasket.com, it all came down to playing time.
“There was some NBA talk over the summer. I had some camp invites but I never thought about going because I didn’t want to do the NBA thing this year. I wanted to play more than anything,” Williams told Eurobasket from his luxury patio overlooking the Mediterranean in Malaga, Spain. “Going to the NBA, I would have maybe been a second guard, for sure a third guard on some team and I know I can play basketball — doing so at a high level was my ultimate goal,” he added.
When you hear the words, “Luxury patio,” can you blame him?
Shelden Williams may be the most well-known name on this list. Not only was he an elite player at Duke University, but he carved out a six-year career in the NBA in which he played for seven different franchises.
Fortunately for Williams and his fans, he’s doing quite well for himself overseas.
Before his professional career began, Williams became one of the most decorated players in the illustrious history of Duke Basketball. When he graduated in 2006, he was the school’s all-time leader in career blocks, career rebounds and single-season blocks.
Williams was also a two-time National Defensive Player of the Year and joined Tim Duncan and Ralph Sampson as the only ACC players to accumulate 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 350 blocks.
During his senior season, Williams made the leap from being one of the best to the elite big man in college basketball. He did so by averaging 18.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 1.7 steals.
Months later, Williams was drafted fifth overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
Williams had the skill set necessary to thrive in the NBA, but always appeared to be limited by his undersized stature as a 6’9″ center. That’s why, after 361 NBA games, Williams decided to go overseas.
Williams is currently playing for Elan Chalon of LNB Pro A in France. Thus far, Williams has performed very well on both ends of the floor. The concerns about his height are no longer an issue and the former Duke Blue Devil is shining because of it.
A return to the NBA could be in his future, but if not, Williams is the caliber player to make a real impact in Europe.
That’s all for this week, folks. As always, feel free to reach out via Twitter or the comments section. If you’re looking for someone, we’ll track them down for you at, “Where are they now?”
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