On September 2, 2011, Los Angeles native guard Marcus Williams' basketball career was threatened without warning.
The former UConn stud and first round pick in the 2006 NBA draft was just three days into his new Russian contract when Kazan's physical identified a heart tumor. Williams immediately returned to the United States to undergo surgery, keeping him off the hardwood for over three months.
Williams had just capped a noteworthy season with Russian Enisey, averaging 15.3 points and finishing first in the league in assists with 6.8 per game.
Once receiving his worrying medical results, Williams contemplated the worst and began to reminisce about the highlights of his career, such as winning the 2004 NCAA title, being selected 22nd overall by the New Jersey Nets and playing in the Rookies All-Star Game. He also recalled being chosen to play in the Puerto Rican league's All-Star game, earning both the game's MVP and the Skills Contest awards.
It was on the flight home that Williams told himself "I'm sick of asking 'why' to certain things. I just continue to roll with the punches." He was convinced that it didnt matter where he played basketball, as long as he got one more shot to hoop.
Behind an encouraging 25-game comeback in China, Williams pursued a deal that would resurrect his career. The NBA, by the way, wasn't in the cards.
"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.
Throughout his rehab process, Williams gained 20-plus pounds of body fat, increasing his weight to 230 pounds, resembling a somewhat taller, non-muscular version of free agent NBA guard Derek Fisher.
Last summer, Williams was determined to get back into shape and like any other off-season, he played for the "L.A. Unified" squad in Los Angeles' famous pro-am Drew League. In July, he participated in a number of vigorous private workouts for European teams.
"It's funny," Williams recalled while looking back on how he was scouted by Spanish Unicaja Malaga. "Our General Manager told someone from my agency that they were on the lookout for a point guard and that they would stop through L.A. on their way to the NBA Summer League. They came to a few workouts, saw me play, and that was it. They were the first team to approach me," the 26-year-old guard said.
Later that month, Malaga's Croatian coach Jasmin Repesaleft Williams with a very detailed to-do list before giving team officials the green light to sign the 6-foot-3 guard to a two-year contract.
" (Repesa) has been on my case before I even signed with Malaga. We spoke on the phone many times and he was strict about wanting me to lose my body fat, lose weight, and get into game shape early," the 211-pound healthy Williams revealed.
"I told him I'm willing to do whatever it takes, and though (Repesa) rarely allows us to get comfortable, (Repesa)'s very open minded and trusts us to make the right plays. I'm glad I was able to step in up."
With seven weeks into the Euroleague season, Williams, a Euroleague rookie, is fully recovered and is playing the best ball of his career. He's averaging 11.1 points shooting 41% from beyond the arc and is ranked third in the competition in made 3-pointers (18), leading his team to the Top 16 round with six consecutive victories. Williams also records 3.3 rebounds and 3.6 dimes in just 21 minutes of action.
Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (A1) is about to agree terms with 24-year old American forward Okaro White (206-93kg-92, college: Florida State) who played last time at Aris Thessaloniki. In 36 A1 games he had 13.9ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.6apg and 1.6spg last season. He helped them to make it to the Greek Cup Semifinals. The previous (14-15) season White played at Virtus Obiettivo Lavoro Bologna (Serie A) in Italian league. In 33 games he recorded 12.1ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.1apg and 1.0bpg in 2014-15 season. Quit... [read more]
Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (A1) is about to agree terms with 24-year old American forward Okaro White (206-93kg-92, college: Florida State) who played last time at Aris Thessaloniki. In 36 A1 games he had 13.9ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.6apg and 1.6spg last season. He helped them to make it to the Greek Cup Semifinals. The previous (14-15) season White played at Virtus Obiettivo Lavoro Bologna (Serie A) in Italian league. In 33 games he recorded 12.1ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.1apg and 1.0bpg in 2014-15 season. Quite impressive year as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Italian SerieA Honorable Mention and to the All-Star Game. He won NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando championship title in 2015. White graduated from Florida State in 2014 and it is his third season as a professional player. On White:
A not so techical skilled but very athletic PF, who should improve his perimetral skills and ball handling to make a succesful transition to the 3 position. Has great running abilities and leaping skills, can play almost everytime above the rim offensively, can make his job done defensively.
Yesterday night (30.05.2016) was one of the worst nights for the European basketball as one of the top players of the last decade, decided to retire. Dimitris Diamantidis or else 3D or else triple D, the most altruist player in the European courts EVER, the player who won three Euroleague titles, nine Greek league and ten Greek cup titles, two Euroleague final four MVP Awards, four all-Euroleague first team selections, as well as a record of six Euroleague Best Defender Awards and being t... [read more]
Yesterday night (30.05.2016) was one of the worst nights for the European basketball as one of the top players of the last decade, decided to retire. Dimitris Diamantidis or else 3D or else triple D, the most altruist player in the European courts EVER, the player who won three Euroleague titles, nine Greek league and ten Greek cup titles, two Euroleague final four MVP Awards, four all-Euroleague first team selections, as well as a record of six Euroleague Best Defender Awards and being the only player to have earned all four pre-mentioned Euroleague end of season distinctions, even more so in a single year (2006-20017) will no longer wear his uniform as a player.. The 36 years old ex international guard decided to retire and without him European basketball will not be the same..
For 12 consecutive seasons worn the green jersey of Panathinaikos , being the epitome of how the game is suppose to be played. Diamantidis has won several individual trophies since joining Panathinaikos, such as the Euroleague Best Defender six times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011), the Greek League MVP six times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014), and the Euroleague Final Four MVP twice (2007, 2011). Diamantidis was also named the 2007 Mister Europa, the 2007 Greek Athlete of the Year, and the MVP of the Greek Cup in 2009 and 2016. He was named the Euroleague MVP in 2011.
3D was born on the 6th of May, 1980 in Kastoria. At the age of fourteen, Diamantidis started his youth career with his home team in Kastoria, where he remains until the summer of 1999, at the age of 19, Diamantidis began his professional career when he transferred to Iraklis Thessaloniki (where his talent and his basketball IQ were obviously much higher than the average), he became a starting player at his second season in the team and he helped to bring Iraklis back to the top teams in the Greek league, and by 2003, he had emerged as an all-around star in the Greek League winning the Greek League MVP award in the same season.. The Giannakopoulos family saw that and they didn't lose time as in the summer of 2004 3D became a member of Panathinaikos. He immediately became the leader of the team, even though the all mighty Alvertis Fragiskos was a member of the team, 3D was not the absolute scorer like Alvertis, but he was the one to do all the jobs in the court, something that was not usual up until the time he appeared in the Greek basketball scenery.
Left-handed 3D was playing with the same ease, in three positions (point guard, small forward and shooting guard) and won 22 titles in total while he has best statistical record in Euroleague in most of the statistical divisions, being the top performer in the European courts in the 21st century! He has the all-time Euroleague leading position in total assists, steals, and performance index rating with some of them being very difficult to reach in the years to come. Diamantidis had with Coach Obradovi one of the most successful collaborations between a player and his coach in the history of European basketball. As a member of the Greek national team, 3D won a EuroBasket title in 2005; anchoring a defense that allowed 59.7 points per game and scoring a buzzer beater three-pointer that sealed the fate of the semifinal against France, he was voted as a member of the All-EuroBasket Team. In 2006, he played a pivotal role in a FIBA World Cup silver medal campaign, with Greece stunning Team USA in the semifinal and Diamantidis leading the tournament in steals. He was a key factor in Greece's historic 101-95 victory against Team USA in the semifinals, stunning the likes of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. The defeat suffered by the United States team is the only one during Mike Krzyzewski's era (2005-), as the latter has an undefeated record since then, in all major international competitions. On the basis of his myriad achievements, his leading role in the success of Panathinaikos and the Greek national team, he was named Mister Europa Player of the Year by Italian sports magazine Superbasket in 2007.
He has a fun club which comes all over the globe and is among the most known figures in the European Basketball, a person who's totally different in and out of the court as his superior and legendary performances in the court has nothing to do with the man, the citizen Dimitris Diamantidis, a low profile young family man On the 1st of April, 2016 he has received the Euroleague Basketball Legend award being the second Greek player after Theo Papaloukas back in 2013. As demonstrated by numerous game-changing actions in crucial situations, Diamantidis is considered to be one of the biggest decision makers and clutch players in European basketball history.
3D is the idol and the symbol of many players allover the globe, many players that want to look alike him, play like him and have the same passion and skills like him, his is and will be a total legend of the European Basketball.
The global basketball is losing in the same season two of its few legends as after Kobe Bryant, Dimitris Diamantidis has been added (as of yesterday) in the retired player's list!!
CSKA to sign Viktor Khryapa to contract extension - May 30, 2016
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CSKA and Viktor Khryapa(203-F-82, agency: Alti Sport) will extend their cooperation. The Moscow powerhouse will reportedly use their option to extend the deal with the player for one more season. Viktor Khryapa has been playing for CSKA since 2002. He averaged 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in EuroLeague. In VTB League his stats read 5.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per appearance. [read more]
CSKA and Viktor Khryapa (203-F-82, agency: Alti Sport) will extend their cooperation. The Moscow powerhouse will reportedly use their option to extend the deal with the player for one more season. Viktor Khryapa has been playing for CSKA since 2002. He averaged 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in EuroLeague. In VTB League his stats read 5.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per appearance.
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