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.
Agricola Villarrobledo CBV (EBA) signed 22-year old guard Diego Mallou (180-94) from ULE ALN Fundacion CB Leon. In 22 EBA games he had 11.2ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg and 1.5spg last season. Mallou has played previously for two other teams: Ourense and Ourense. Agricola Villarrobledo CBV roster for 2016-2017: Guards: Diego Mallou Jorge Anover Anthony McDonald Forwards: Reco McCarter Junior Fortunat Mario Melero Erikas Kalinicenko Center: Artur Alaminos Coach: Manuel Jimenez By Eurobasket D... [read more]
Ourense Termal (LEB Gold) added to their roster 32-year old naturalized Russian power forward Dmitriy Flis (204-100kg-84). He played last season at ICL Manresa (Liga Endesa). In 30 games he recorded 5.3ppg and 2.1rpg. LEB Gold will be definitely a better match and he can see more playing time. The previous (14-15) season Flis played at Ural Ekaterinburg (Superleague) in Russia where in 32 games he averaged 8.8ppg and 5.0rpg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. The list of the pas... [read more]
Ourense Termal (LEB Gold) added to their roster 32-year old naturalized Russian power forward Dmitriy Flis (204-100kg-84). He played last season at ICL Manresa (Liga Endesa). In 30 games he recorded 5.3ppg and 2.1rpg. LEB Gold will be definitely a better match and he can see more playing time. The previous (14-15) season Flis played at Ural Ekaterinburg (Superleague) in Russia where in 32 games he averaged 8.8ppg and 5.0rpg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Flis' team was regular season runner-up in Russian Superleague in 2014. He was also voted Eurobasket.com Spanish LEB Gold All-Domestic Players Team back in 2013. Flis has played previously for four other Spain teams: Joventut, Andorra, Blusens Monbus and Lleida Basquet.
Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Liga Endesa) confirmed in their roster 50-year old coach Jesus Vidorreta (agency: BeoBasket). The previous (14-15) season Vidorreta coached at Movil Estudiantes. His team made it to the Eurocup Semifinals in 2009. Vidorreta has coached previously two other teams: Cornella and La Palma. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Spain [read more]
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