Marcus Williams (UConn)

Marcus Williams (UConn) profile
Drafted #22 in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Nets
RCSI: 42 (2003)
Height: 6'3" (191 cm)
Weight: 215 lbs (98 kg)
Position: PG
High School: Oak Hill Academy (Virginia)
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College: Connecticut
Current Team: Stockton
Win - Loss: 20 - 20


NBA Summer League Player Reports (Part Two)

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Jul 26, 2009, 08:57 pm
The 22nd overall pick in the 2006 draft, Williams has started only 9 games in his NBA career. After taking a big fall on draft night, the player that many considered a potential steal came into this week just looking to claw his way back into the NBA. Despite shooting just 33% from the field, he may have done just that here in Las Vegas. It seemed like almost every time Williams passed the ball to a teammate, the subsequent shot found the bottom of the net. Despite showing the same questionable scoring arsenal that we’re used to seeing from him, he looked like a completely different player than the one that was amongst the most turnover prone players in the League early in his career.

It is not difficult to tell just how important Williams was to the Grizzlies. He made things happen the entire week, leading his team to a 5-0 record while tallying 13.4 points and 8.2 assists per game. Williams has always been considered an exceptional passer, but seldom has he proven capable of running the show like he did here. Never eclipsing an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.0 in his NBA career, Williams turned the ball over only 11 times in 5 games, 6 of which came in a game against the Spurs that he won with a late floater.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a point guard carry his team with heady play, as Jose Juan Barea accomplished a similar feat with the Mavericks a few years ago. However, Williams wasn’t just making every smart pass, he was making difficult passes look smart. Over the course of the week he took advantage of virtually every type of situation, splitting defenders to hit cutters on the pick and roll and pick and pop alike, driving and dishing out of spot up opportunities, and throwing a handful of 30-foot bullet passes to Hasheem Thabeet when hedged aggressively near half court. Many of his miscues were the result of good defense, especially against the Spurs where George Hill gave Williams very little room to breathe and made great use of his quick hands and enormous wingspan

Every now and again Williams did make a bad decision, mostly with his shot selection, where he took a couple of ill-advised pull up jumpers. His three point jumper remains too flat to be effective, but his ball handling remains crisp, and he was quick and strong enough to earn himself some easy shots at the basket. Though Williams’ floater was the difference against the Spurs, it could still use some work as well. Regardless of what wasn’t working for Williams, he did a tremendous job getting to the line, averaging more than 7 free throw attempts per contest –more than compensating for his poor outside shooting and showing much more decisiveness when attacking the rim than he normally does. Based on all the other things he did this week, Williams’ lack of perimeter scoring ability didn’t hurt his productivity as a passer, but there’s no question that he needs to continue working on that part of his game to become the player many though he could become when he left UConn.

Possibly the only part of William’s game that has been more maligned than his perimeter scoring has been his defense. Though his stance remains a bit half-hearted, Williams did not look nearly as bad here as he has historically. He isn’t the most disciplined perimeter defender when closing out or defending the ball in half court settings, but he has improved his recognition on the pick and roll, doesn’t show as poor awareness as he used to, and at least makes an effort to get a hand up on shooter. Due to the cushion that he often gives his man, Williams doesn’t have too hard of a time deterring dribble penetration. He does give up the lane when he overcommits in hand off and pick and roll situations, but he’ll try to stay in position when he can anticipate the drive. Overall, Williams may never be much of a defender, since he isn’t super quick and forces essentially no turnovers, but he has shown some minor improvements over time.

Williams is at a turning point in his development, seeming to have reeled in his decision-making and his shot selection to an extent. Best of all, he seems to have shed quite a bit of weight, which has always been a major concern dating back to his college days. At the bare minimum, he’s earned himself the opportunity to be someone’s third point guard, and potentially more than that. He still has the same weaknesses he did coming out of school, but should he ever change his mentality on the defensive end or improve as a scorer, he could still emerge as an intriguing player.

Rocky Mountain Revue Day Three

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Jul 24, 2008, 01:26 pm
Williams showed well today against his new teammates, doing enough to convince Chris Mullin to pull the trigger on a deal to acquire him. While today was obviously not the only factor in the deal, it show what kind of value the former UCONN guard can have in Golden State’s offense. While Williams didn’t do a great job scoring the ball, he did a tremendous job distributing it. His ability to find teammates was on display all game in the form of a couple impressive full court assists and a few fancy passes in the lane. Williams will force some passes and shots, but he has a nice pull up jumper going right and gets the ball up the floor in a hurry. He’ll be asked to do the latter in Golden State, letting him play to his strengths. This game forced Williams to try to carry the load offensively, something he’s not capable of, but he’s an ideal fit for a Warriors team that has stockpiled athletic wings after losing Baron Davis. The young point guard will have to earn his minutes, but should have no trouble finding his way onto the floor in spot minutes. It will be interesting to see how Golden State manages the minutes of CJ Watson and Williams at their backup point guard spot.

West Coast Workout Swing: Day 5 (Marcus Williams, Jared Dudley, more)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
May 25, 2007, 02:19 am
Very often we come into these private workouts feeling one way about a player’s skills or attitude, only to find out that our initial impression was very much off base. In the case of Marcus Williams, it was quite refreshing to see the work ethic he’s showing here as a player who has had about as much negativity thrown his way as anyone since exiting early from the NCAA Tournament.

Williams worked out with Jared Dudley in what was probably the most intriguing session of our time in Vegas. He was a little streaky shooting with his feet set, particularly once he got out to NBA 3-point range, but looked exceptionally good in the mid-range area creating space for himself and pulling up off the dribble. Once he’s in motion his shot seems to gain consistency, likely because of the fact that he doesn’t have as much time to cock the ball to the side of his head the way he does on his set shots, which gives him a very inconsistent release point, and thus a higher (and unnecessary) degree of difficulty. He seems to have very good touch regardless, though, meaning he can get into a groove and knock down a bunch of shots in a row.

In the ball-handling and one on one competitive drills is where Williams’ skills really came out. He can create his own shot with ease thanks to his combination of crafty footwork, smooth ball-handling skills, changes of speeds and pro moves from the triple-threat position, being able to utilize multiple jabs and fakes to get his man off balance and either make his way to the rim or pull up from mid-range. He’s very long, but a bit frail and not freakishly explosive, relying heavily on his instincts and skill level to help him put the ball in the basket.

Off the court, Williams is a personable and well-spoken kid who seems to enjoy being around the NBA players here in Vegas. “That’s the biggest perk here by far, being around the pros. Players relate to players better and there is so much I can learn from a guy like Ryan Gomes

Once the workouts were over for the day, he was the only one to stay late and join Gomes in putting up shots from beyond the arc, and the next day he decided to come in at 8am, an hour before everyone else, to work on his shot even more.

Williams did not participate in the 5 on 5 (his agent does not want to risk an injury) and will not participate at the Orlando pre-draft camp, meaning it will be up to him at workouts to secure himself a spot in the first round. All in all, he looked considerably better than we thought he would. If he can correct his shooting mechanics to give himself a chance to develop into a solid NBA 3-point shooter, he has a very good chance to help someone out down the road. His size, length, versatility and scoring instincts at the 2-guard position aren’t something that you can find everyday in this draft.

NBA Pre-Draft Camp Media Day (Part Two)

Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Eric Weiss
Eric Weiss
Jun 12, 2006, 02:41 am
Eric Weiss: What do you bring to a team?

Marcus Williams: I think I can get guys the ball and really make plays. I think I can step in and lead a team right away.

Reporter: So, you’re confident you could start next year?

Marcus Williams: Yes, I think so. You’ve got to have that confidence.

Eric Weiss: Did you read our write up from the interview we did a couple of weeks ago?

Marcus Williams: Definitely. Everyone was laughing about it. I really thought it was funny. Good interview though.

Eric Weiss: My favorite part was when you were talking about reading game situations. People have said that it was easy for you playing with a bunch of NBA guys, which never made sense to me because you are going to be playing with NBA guys. But, how you described how it was hard because you had to make all those decisions.

Marcus Williams: Certain situations require certain people [to get the ball to] and I think some people didn’t realize that. I think that’s where my IQ comes in. Where you got to get the ball to people in certain situations, know who to yell at and who not to yell at, so…

Eric Weiss: That’s the balance.

Marcus Williams: You have to know your personnel.

Eric Weiss: But you broke it down so nicely just walking through that thought process. You were saying that you knew Rashad [Anderson] hadn’t touched the ball in 2 or 3 possessions, but there had just been a big play on the defensive end, so Hilton [Armstrong] might need the ball. That kind of stuff really puts you in the mind of a point guard and shows what you have to deal with on a play-by-play basis.

Marcus Williams: You also have the coach on the sidelines calling certain plays in certain situations and four different people on the court saying, “I need the ball, give me the ball.” (laughing)

Eric Weiss: (laughing) Guys clapping for it.

Marcus Williams: And it’s just like “shut up, shut up, I got it. I got it under control.” But, it’s cool.

Eric Weiss: What’s it going to be like going to the pros as opposed to college in terms of coaching? Everyone talks about how different it is coaching wise between the pro game and the college game, a lot of college coaches haven’t had much success coming into the pros. How much control does Coach Calhoun take in game management? What’s his style?

Marcus Williams: He really didn’t want to get into offense. He just wanted to make sure everything got running in terms of primary or secondary options, fast break options. He would say when to pick up full court defense and when to pick the pace of the game up. I think he asked me around 80 percent of the time what I thought that we should be running. I’m out there on the floor and I think he trusted my IQ and the things I saw on the floor. I mean, of course he’s seeing things from the bench, but he’s not on the court to see it. So, he’d ask me about certain plays and then we’d just go from there.

If we had a hot hand in Rudy [Gay], then we’d go to Rudy. If I thought Hilton had a mismatch or a guy had 4 fouls then we’d go to Hilton because he’s aggressive in the post. There are certain things coach sees and certain things I see and we just try to combine them. We see a lot of things together.

Eric Weiss: What kind of prep work do you do for a given opponent, though? We’ve talked about reading situations in a game, talking about a guy having 4 fouls, a guy with the hot hand, etc. What type of advanced preparation do you do? When you know you’ve got a certain match up you’re going against, or know who your other guys are going against, do you do any?

Marcus Williams: I look at some tape. I look at some previous games. I watch games all season, so I keep a short memory. They’ve got to play me too, so I try to make other players adjust to my style of game.

Eric Weiss: But it does help to know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent.

Marcus Williams: Of course. Coaches give us a big packet before the game of all the players. Like, if we play Villanova we’ll get a whole packet on Randy Foye of about 30 bullet points on things he likes to do, if he likes to go right and shoot or likes to go left and take it all the way to the rim. There are just certain things that we know about certain players.

Eric Weiss: Do you ever watch tape on your own performance and see what you’ve done?

Marcus Williams: Yes. We’ve got a lot of managers who break it down for us and give us all the defensive mistakes we’ve made or all the great defensive plays we’ve made, if we were standing straight up or if we were in proper defensive position. So everyone does a job, from the managers to coach Calhoun. It’s like a family.

Eric Weiss: There’s going to be a lot of that in the NBA. You’re taking it to that professional level. That’s where the big bucks come in because they’re expecting you to put the big time in and they have all the nice facilities, the nice film room and all that stuff. Every opportunity is there to do all the work you need to do. Are you in communication with any current NBA players?

Marcus Williams: I talk to Ben Gordon a lot. I have two guys from LA, Trevor Ariza and Dorell Wright, I know those guys. Emeka [Okafor]. I know Josh Smith a little bit. Caron [Butler] and Rip [Hamilton]. I know those guys.

Eric Weiss: A lot of the UCONN family. What do you guys talk about? Do they help you get ready for anything?

Marcus Williams: They normally don’t come at you with questions, but they’ll say “whatever you need. If you need advice on certain situations just ask.” I ask Rip and Ben a lot of questions. Whether the answer is good or bad, you know they don’t sugar-coat anything.

Eric Weiss: What do you talk about more? Is it more off-court life type of adjustment stuff or is it more getting ready for game-play itself?

Marcus Williams: Well, I mostly ask Ben about how it’s like adjusting to an 82 game season. How’s time management, like “do you go out a lot, or just sit in and rest?” I mean, it’s a long season. Just different questions like that. Whatever random question comes up I’ll just email him right then. How the playoffs are different from the regular season. He’ll say “it’s the playoffs, it’s a lot more intense when you’re trying to win 4 games to advance.” Just random questions off the top of my head like that.

Eric Weiss: It’s nice to be able to hit up some guys and be able to ask them questions like that, huh?

Marcus Williams: It’s great actually. You don’t have to go through it on your own, go straight to the NBA not knowing what to do.

Eric Weiss: Speaking of the 82 game schedule and all that, what are the two biggest questions you get from NBA teams when your going through the draft process?

Marcus Williams: Of course…laptop. It doesn’t bother me, because I know it’s going to come up. They’re investing millions of dollars in you, so of course you’ve got to answer the questions and I just answer straight forward. Another question that comes up is probably that transition from 30 games to 82 games, or if I think I can step in and lead grown men. I mean, they’re not asking me to be the president. They’re just asking me to play basketball and that’s something I’ve been doing all my life.

Eric Weiss: (laughing) Right. In terms of conditioning you did well in the Celtic run, but from wherever it started there have been questions about that.

Marcus Williams: I mean, everyone’s going to say something negative. If I had gotten 50 in the Celtic run there’d still be someone saying “he wasn’t in shape. His body wasn’t this, his body wasn’t that.” But, I think it’s a whole different thing when you get out on the court and show your talents when you play.

Eric Weiss: It seems like you’re in shape, but do you have a target of getting in better shape in terms of maximizing your physical ability?

Marcus Williams: I think my idea is to be around 207 or 208. After that, everything else will fall into place. I think I’ll start being more lean, more cut, all that stuff.

Eric Weiss: Something interesting that I think gets overlooked is the ability to go at it professionally and go at it full time, make your body your business. I think you have more physical potential in terms of speed and explosiveness. I think people tend to overlook that, they see someone as they are right now and project that out forever.

Marcus Williams: I think I’m faster than a lot of people think I am or quicker than a lot of people think I am. A lot of players that I’ve played against say in interviews “I didn’t know he was that fast.” I think that’s my advantage. I think a lot of people think I’m slow so they tend to play lackadaisical on defense.

Eric Weiss: That’s all the better for you. (laughing)

Marcus Williams: (grinning) It’s all a game I think. I’m playing them.

Eric Weiss: You set people up well, and that’s half the game. One of the things I tend to write about is that there is too much emphasis on straight line speed and explosive lift. But, there are so many more facets to athleticism. You’ve got your balance, your coordination…

Marcus Williams: …core strength. All that.

Eric Weiss: …and then adding to that the vision, the ability to read a play in advance instead of reacting to it right when it happens, which is obviously what you do based off what you said about going through all your progressions mentally. What guards do you watch in the league? Not guys you pattern your game after, but guys whose games you like?

Marcus Williams: All the passing point guards. Not to say the scoring guards aren’t good, I mean they’re always fun to watch. I mean, I know Gilbert Arenas--me and him play nothing alike. But, he’s a great player to watch.

I watch a lot of guys like Jason Kidd, Steve Nash. I watch a lot of John Stockton, Magic Johnson of course. Just a lot of the typical point guards I would say.

Eric Weiss: Is that what you’d like to be? You’re clearly going to score and probably a decent amount. But, you’re not trying to lead the league in scoring some day; you’d rather lead the league in assists more?

Marcus Williams: I think I can lead the league in assists. There’s 48 minutes and 24 seconds to the shot clock, so you got to get up shots quick. So, I think when I pass the ball that a shot will go up. I think I can get guys the ball where they don’t have to make plays and they get a wide open look, and playing in the NBA they should make it. I don’t think racking up assists will be too difficult.

Eric Weiss: No doubt. You were saying that you think you’ve got a good chance at starting. If you go to a situation like Boston…

Marcus Williams: I think that would be a good situation. I’ve been in the area for 3 years and I have a well known name there. Going to a situation like that, up and down game. I think that’s what Coach Rivers said he wanted, an up and down game. Paul Pierce, some big men that are progressing in Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson. Gerald Green. Delonte West. It’s a good organization.

Eric Weiss: Coming in tough. Talking about the whole mental toughness element; if things work out in a way where you have to come off the bench or you have to wait a little longer than you’d like to, theoretically, are you prepared for that? Can you handle that or are you going to get frustrated?

Marcus Williams: In high school, coming in as a 9th grader there was a 12th grader ahead of me. Probably 9 or 10 games into the season I was starting. Then coming into Connecticut I had a senior ahead of me, so it’s been happening all my life. So, I don’t think it’s a real big problem. I’ll just go out there and practice and when I get my opportunities in games I’ll go out there and show coach what I can do.

Interview with Marcus Williams

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Eric Weiss
Eric Weiss
Jun 02, 2006, 03:41 am
DraftExpress recently got the chance to sit down with top point guard prospect Marcus Williams, after his workout with former Duke Star Jay Williams. Not many are questioning the skills he brings to the court, and for good reason as Marcus was able to meet and even exceed our expectations with his solid showing.

The main questions he’ll be facing when sitting down with the NBA brass are those that pertain to his character and attitude. The so-called intangibles that tend to determine if a player becomes special or simply remains the same are what will be most heavily scrutinized over the next few weeks.

While we haven’t been able to explore all these intangible qualities to the utmost of our capability in such a setting, the demeanor and response to the questions we asked were certainly a good indicator of a man who’s learned from his mistakes and knows how to exorcise the type of judgment needed to be a point guard at the highest level. Time will tell on how high he truly climbs, but the foundation is in place. The rest is up to him.

Jonathan Givony: I was talking to Jay [Williams] and he said you guys have been here a month. What types of things have you been working on here?


Marcus Williams: Well, a lot of shooting. We come down here in the morning and shoot for about an hour and a half. Then we’ll go two on two and at 4 pm we’ll shoot for another hour and a half. So we’re just getting a lot of shots up and really competing against Jay everyday, he can only make me better.

Jonathan Givony: Anything you think you’ve improved on while you’ve been here, any little things in your game?

Marcus Williams: Definitely going hard all the time. Going up against someone like Jay and just seeing his work ethic on the court and in the weight room, I mean going against him everyday I have to go hard or I’ll get embarrassed out there.

Jonathan Givony: You’ve gone up against a lot of great point guards this year. If Jay was in this years draft where do you think he would go? How do you think he’d stack up?

Marcus Williams: He’d be one of the top guards I think. What he’s done with his comeback is just remarkable. His work ethic, his quickness, his drive to make it back to the NBA is just great. I tell him everyday “you keep working hard and you’re going to get back in there easy”. He’s got to get his lateral movement up a little, but his jump shot is his strength, the rest of his game is sweet. Everything is going up.

Jonathan Givony: You can see it in the drills and on the court. You can tell he just really wants it and is going after it 100 percent all the time.

Marcus Williams: Yes. You know, he’s always out there giving me little tips. I’m stronger than most people and I think that’s why he’s pushing me around out there, telling me to use my strength. I think that’s really going to help me.

Jonathan Givony: How have your workouts been going so far? How many teams have you been to?

Marcus Williams: I’ve done three: Toronto, Boston, and Minnesota.

Jonathan Givony: Anything surprise you? Did you feel like you were prepared for them?

Marcus Williams: I thought I was prepared. Nothing really surprised me. Pretty much everything we did, we did here-except the two on two part. I think I really shot the ball well, but I feel I did everything pretty well.

Jonathan Givony: There’s been some stuff out there about conditioning. What’s your perspective on that?

Marcus Williams: (laughing) I feel fine. I mean, in Boston the Celtic Run record is 29 and I got 26.

Jonathan Givony: What exactly is the Celtic Run?

Marcus Williams: They give you 3 minutes and see how many times you can run full court back and forth. Each one up the court is one.

Jonathan Givony: Sprints?

Marcus Williams: Sprints.

Jonathan Givony: So are you at 220 pounds right now?

Marcus Williams: No, I’m at 214 pounds. But I’m going to go down to 210lbs, that’ll be fine.


Jonathan Givony: That’s what it seems like. So what workouts do you have coming up?

Marcus Williams: Well, I’ve got Houston on Wednesday and then it’s on to Orlando for pre-draft.

Jonathan Givony: I hate to quote other people, but we hear Rondo is saying “Marcus Williams is dodging me” or something like that. Have they asked you for a workout and you said no I don’t want to?

Marcus Williams: I attend every workout. Wait, I think we have the same agent, so how can we dodge each other?

Jonathan Givony: (laughing) So you keep in touch with your teammates at all?

Marcus Williams: Oh ya, I talked to Rudy the other day, he was in DC getting ready for a Charlotte workout. Talked to Denham by text message and he said he was in Chicago. Hilton is out here in Santa Monica. Rashad is working out at IMG, going at it hard down in Florida.

Jonathan Givony: Denham and Rashad got into Orlando. So are you going to have a little reunion down there? At least five of the six of you will be there, I don’t know about Josh [Boone].

Marcus Williams: I think he got a letter. My dad says he’s going to go. So, it looks like all six of us will be there.

Jonathan Givony: All six UCONN guys, how’s that going to be?

Marcus Williams: (laughing) it’s going to be crazy.

Jonathan Givony: So has this whole process been tedious for you? Do you feel like you even get to show what you can do or do you wish the draft just happened right after the tournament?

Marcus Williams: I wish it was like the girls. Their tournament is over and two or three days later they have their draft. For us, it’s three long months you’ve got to wait. I mean, you’ve got to fly all over and work out for different teams and then get your workouts in, often two a day, so it’s real tiring. But, it’ll be worth it come June 28th.

Eric Weiss: We talked about this the other day, but what do you feel is more important, how high you go in the draft or the situation you go to?

Marcus Williams: I’d rather go to a place that I’ll get to step in and play to try and help the team be better than they were last year. A team like Toronto or Atlanta, help them make the playoffs or just get them on the right track.

Eric Weiss: Who are your ideal teammates? What type of tempo would you like to play in?

Marcus Williams: I like the up and down game. I think I can really set the table. I think I can get the ball to guys so they really don’t have to make plays. I can get them in a position where they get a wide open shot or don’t have to do much to get one; a team like Toronto where they can get up and down with Mo Pete, Chris Bosh, Charlie [Villanueva]. Charlie’s one of the smartest players I’ve played with. Atlanta has some great wings in Joe Johnson, Childress, Smith. A team like that, that can really get up and down.

Jonathan Givony: Do you think you’ve got a shot at going number one? There are constant reports out there day that Toronto really likes you, but are they going to trade down? Do you think that going number one is realistic?

Marcus Williams: I don’t know. I don’t even think about it. That’s a crazy thought to even be considered in that category.

Jonathan Givony: What about your thoughts on the NCAA tournament. It could be said that you were the best player in the tournament, but you ended up losing in the Elite 8. What are your thoughts on that?

Marcus Williams: I think going into the tournament I was kind of nervous because of what Coach Calhoun said about being the most important player in the tournament. He put that on me, so I felt like I didn’t want to make a mistake and then if we fell short everything would be on me. So, I think in the first half of the games I was very passive. I just looked to move the ball around, see who was hot and who was not. In the last game, no one was really scoring, so in the second half I just took the initiative to see if I could get it going and I just started scoring.

Jonathan Givony: How easy or hard is it to play on a team with so many NBA caliber guys on it? Some people have said that you had it easy because of the quality of teammates you had around you.


Marcus Williams: People thought it was easy, but it was probably the hardest team I’ve ever had to play on. I mean you had 6 other players including the freshman Jeff Adrien, who was key. So, it’s hard to figure out who to get the ball to. You’ve got Rudy on one wing who just scored, and then you’ve got Rashad on the other who hasn’t touched the ball in 2 or 3 possessions. Then Hilton probably just made a great defensive play and you want to reward him. It’s hard to make those decisions. Of course, you’ve got your teammates all in your ear saying “I need the ball, give me the ball.” I think it’s probably the hardest job and I just tried to make the best out of it.

Jonathan Givony: Especially coming into that situation in the middle of the year.

Marcus Williams: Right. Sometimes I’m hot too, and I feel that I’ve got to score a bit. So really I just try to ration it out and keep everybody happy throughout the game.

Eric Weiss: Continuing what you’re talking about. Do you consider yourself a vocal leader? Do communicate with everyone while you’re out there?

Marcus Williams: You have to. We’ve got a couple of players who are quite and really don’t talk like that. Rudy is not that vocal, Josh definitely isn’t vocal. Denham is more a lead by example guy. Rashad is more lead by example. Hilton was a big, so nobody’s going to listen to a big the way they are to a guard when it comes to setting things up. So, I felt I had to step in during the middle of the season and be that vocal leader because we really didn’t have one. So I just tried to take on every role that was needed, and with my teammates that wasn’t really ever a problem. Even coming into it in the middle of the season, they were never like “you just got here, we’re not going to listen to you.” They listened to everything I had to say and we just went out there and played.

Eric Weiss: Taking that idea to the NBA level, you’re not going to be afraid to assert yourself? I mean, you’re obviously going to be dealing with some more established NBA veterans. So you’re not going to shy away from speaking up and sharing your opinions and viewpoints in any given situation?

Marcus Williams: Not at all. This is a business. It’s not like I’m going to go out there and be like “I’m younger than you, I got to do what you say.” This is my business and this is my position as a point guard. I’ve got to be vocal and try and help my teammates as well as them helping me to adjust to the NBA game. I can go in there and give my two cents to everyone that I think needs it and just go from there.

Jonathan Givony: In the interview during the workouts have you been prepared for the questions about the whole laptop situation? Do you look forward to talking about it?

Marcus Williams: Of course, I mean they ask about it all the time. So, I just tell them the truth. It was a mistake I made and I think it humbled me a lot. My mother came out to stay with me and I think it ended up being a great situation, a blessing in disguise. When I came back it was like the spotlight was on me, was I going to buckle in that situation. My mom says that everything happens for a reason, so the way I look at it is maybe I needed that spotlight to be shined at me.

Jonathan Givony: You think it made you mature as a person?

Marcus Williams: Yes, I think it made me a man quick. I took care of my responsibilities with the legal elements of it and with my coach and then everyone else. Then I got back on the court and played.

Jonathan Givony: It’s a different situation but also kind of the same as what Jay has gone through. Adversity. It shows you that not everything is always going to come easy in life and there are going to be certain roadblocks that you’re going to have to go through and overcome.

Marcus Williams: I think it kind of shows what type of person you are. You can’t go into a shell after you know that you made a mistake. You have to bounce back and show what kind of person you truly are, be a great person. Even with a mistake, you’ve got to fight through the adversity.

Jonathan Givony: Do you think people are out of line with some of the signs they bring to the games and all that?

Marcus Williams: I mean, of course. But what can you do? You’ve just got to laugh, smile, and wave. It really didn’t bother me. I was actually looking for some creativity from them. But, everyone kept bringing the same thing. So, by the time the tournament came it was getting pretty old. You know, the whole month of December my mom was waking me up yelling “Laptop! Laptop!” and all that stuff. She just said she was getting me ready for when I got back. Basically when you’re hearing that from your mom everyday, it really doesn’t matter what 15,000 fans are saying.

Jonathan Givony: What about the other Big East guys. Randy Foye, Steve Novak, it seems like there are a lot of top guys coming out of there this year.

Marcus Williams: The Big East is a big conference this year. You also got Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry, Gansey, Pittsnogle, Bowman. There are a lot of guys.

Jonathan Givony: I think you’re going up against Lowry in Houston this week. Good luck, and we’ll catch up with you again in Orlando or in Summer League.

Marcus Williams: That should be a good one. Thanks and take care.

NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Elite Eight, Sunday Games)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Mar 26, 2006, 11:09 pm
Marcus Williams’ team is officially out of the NCAA tournament, but there is little doubt that they would not have made it nearly as far without the playmaking skills of their excellent point guard.

This might have been Williams’ least impressive showing in the tournament so far, but he still managed to do a fantastic job running his team as well as find a way to score the points they needed from him and come up big in the clutch as he has all tournament long.

Williams’ confidence and poise were always evident when watching him set up his team’s offense, getting his big men involved wonderfully, finding his wings spotting up on the perimeter and pushing the tempo when his coach instructed him to do so. As UConn’s players have learned all season long, if they put the effort in to get open, their point guard will find them and will usually do it while putting them in a perfect position to score.

This time he wasn’t as effective driving to the basket as we had seen from him in the past, seeing a couple of his floaters rim out on him and not taking the ball as strong to the basket to get to the free throw line, and also missing badly on a couple of the 3-point attempts he tried early on. When his team needed him to score, though, Williams was both willing and able to shoulder the load once he realized that his half-court offense had bogged down. He came up with two big pull-up jumpers late in the 2nd half, knocked down a deep three, and came up with a terrific steal with 52 seconds remaining before finishing on the break calmly off the glass plus the foul. Two costly turnovers late in the game, one on a questionable palming call that CBS for some reason decided not to show on instant replay hurt his team’s comeback effort, but Williams still found a way to tie the game by finding Denham Brown swooping in from the wing for a drive and acrobatic finish.

His team ended up losing in overtime, but Williams appears to have already punched his ticket for the NBA draft lottery with the way he played in this tournament.

NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Sweet Sixteen, Friday games)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Mar 25, 2006, 03:35 am
Marcus Williams, a player who’s performed as well as just about anyone throughout the tournament so far had his best game yet against Washington and was largely responsible for Connecticut coming away with the victory.

Right from the beginning, Williams displayed his passing abilities, throwing the ball the length of the court to Josh Boone for an easy dunk. He continued by hitting a couple three pointers, and used his strength and craftiness to get to the free throw line. On offense, Marcus showed just about everything, including some great passes, nice layups, and long range jump shots. In addition, Williams made some amazingly clutch baskets late in the second half and in overtime. After hurting his ankle in the extra session, he walked it off on the sidelines for a couple minutes before coming back to make a tough layup, a key pass, a huge steal and two free throws in the final minute to ice the UCONN victory. If there was any weakness for Williams against Washington, it was the 7 turnovers that were the result of some forced passes, and a few out of control drives to the basket that can be credited to the fact that he was trying to step up as his team’s go-to guy. Many of these turnovers happened during the beginning of the second half, when UCONN was out of sync and the whole team was playing sloppily. Williams was able to calm the team down, and lead them back for the victory.

Marcus Williams has displayed every skill necessary for him to improve his draft stock throughout the NCAA Tournament, continuing to show why he’s considered the top point guard in the country, but also showing more shooting and scoring ability than we’ve ever seen from him. He is definitely on the watch list of the numerous playmaking deprived teams in the lottery right now due to his passing, scoring, and clutch abilities. With this performance he’s become the frontrunner for the NCAA tournament MVP award, especially if he can lead the Huskies to a national championship.

Marcus Williams (UConn) NBA Draft Scouting Report

Mar 21, 2006, 04:39 am
Williams has excellent size for an NBA point guard at 6-3, with a very well built body that allows him to take contact and maintain his poise and balance in tough situations. He has huge hands that help him both control the ball masterfully as well as make impossible passing angles look simple. Williams’ steering paws combined with his peripheral vision allow him to whip the ball using impossible angles to the sides or behind him with a quick swoop and great accuracy when other point guards would struggle getting the ball off their finger tips.

Many consider Williams to be the best pure point guard in the country because of the poise he shows running UConn’s offense as well as his unselfishness, outstanding court vision and passing ability. He easily tops the point guard prospect rankings in assist to turnover ratio with a 2.42 average, coming in at 8.5 assists per game compared with 3.5 turnovers despite the fact that he was not available for the usually cupcake non-conference schedule that most point guards use to pad their stats.

Williams sees things on the floor in half-court sets that most point guards don’t and reacts to them instantaneously rather than waiting for plays to develop. He’s perfected the art of the ideal pass down to a science, showing a wonderful assortment of styles and outstanding creativity in the process. The lost art of the post-entry pass is absolute cake for him, using quarterback to wide-receiver style lobs, fundamental bounce passes, full-court heaves or the more modern and ballsy two-handed alley-oop chest pass right to the rim.

Williams loves to push the tempo of the game, so naturally in transition is where his stripes as a point guard really come out, as he organizes the break wonderfully, makes spectacular passes to his incredibly athletic frontcourt look easy, and knows how to put the ball in the cup himself if the pass isn’t there. He rarely gets rattled and usually makes the best possible decision available to him here.

No point guard in the country knows his teammates’ strengths better than Williams does. He distributes the ball exactly the way Coach Jim Calhoun would want him to, rewarding his teammates after a strong rebound or nice defensive play with an easy bucket the next time down the floor to ensure they remain happy, keeping the morale of the team high in the process by making sure that everyone puts in maximum effort for every second they are on the court. That’s not easy when you have as much talent as UConn does this year, but Williams does a great job making sure everyone gets involved, particularly when it comes to his big men, who might otherwise starve for touches on most NCAA teams.

No legit point guard prospect would be complete without outstanding ball-handling skills, and this is a part of his game that he’s improved remarkably in over the past few years. The left-handed Williams dribbles the ball confidently with either hand, always under control, averaging a surprisingly low number of turnovers considering the number of high risk passes he makes, largely due to the fact that he does not make many unforced errors handling the ball.

Williams possesses a strong crossover that he uses to break down defenses, get his man off-balance and give himself space to get into the lane, a move that he executes wonderfully when his team’s half-court offense breaks down. In these instances he rarely gets fazed, being very patient making his way into the lane, taking his time, always with his head up surveying everything around him and doing a fantastic job of getting the ball to his athletic teammates approaching the rim for the easy two points. He has some shiftiness to his game here, changing gears, utilizing hesitation moves, throwing head-fakes or using screens to get by his man, which is a bit tougher for him considering his average first step.

As the season has progressed he’s done a better job at going all the way to the rim (particularly going left) and finishing himself using his excellent strength, something that was absolutely necessary since some teams will prefer to play him this way rather than rotate and let Williams find the open man on the drive and dish, which as noted he is brilliant at.

In other facets of his offensive game, Williams has shot the ball pretty well from 3-point range over the last two seasons, although this is something GMs will want to look more closely at in private workouts considering his limited amount of attempts. As a sophomore he shot a little over 40% from behind the arc on only two attempts per game, and as a junior he sits at 38% on about 2.5 attempts at the time of this report heading into the Sweet 16.

At the free throw line Williams is excellent, being exactly the type of player you want to have with the ball in his hands in late-game situation. He’s improved his free throw shooting from 72% as a sophomore to 84.5% as a junior, being especially impressive in clutch/pressure-packed circumstances.

In terms of his intangibles, we find mostly a mixed bag. On one hand Williams appears to be an extremely crafty player who understands the game, realizes his role, follows instructions and is an outstanding teammate both on and off the court. Experience-wise, he has competed and played well at the highest level of college basketball for the past three years despite the fact that he’s been ineligible for large chunks of that time. He has noticeably improved throughout his three years at UConn, actually being closer to playing only two full seasons because of academic and off the court issues.

Williams is not a spectacular athlete by any means, possibly even being a notch below a player he will be compared to repeatedly, last year’s #3 overall pick Deron Williams. He resembles Deron in his style of play and both have been criticized for their average athleticism.

His explosiveness, footspeed and overall quickness are not what you would expect from a typical point guard, particularly regarding his first step. He clearly makes the most of what he has at the college level thanks to his overall craftiness, but questions will linger until he actually steps foot on an NBA court.

In terms of creating his own shot and getting inside the lane this does not seem to effect him that negatively in the NCAA, as his strength, ball-handling skills and the quickness in which his mind works moves make him extremely dangerous on the drive and dish. How much this will translate over to the NBA will be the subject of much debate in draft war rooms and something that will be scrutinized closely in individual workouts with other top point guard prospects.

One aspect of his game where his lack of quickness clearly affects him already as a collegiate player is in his defensive ability. Williams does not move his feet well enough and is often heavily reliant on the three outstanding shot-blockers (Gay, Boone, Armstrong) he has behind him in UConn’s frontline. He has problems staying in front of his man on the perimeter, particularly when going up against smaller and quicker guards. This might not be that much of an issue if Williams showed better effort in this area, but this is not a part of his game that he puts as much pride in as he does with his playmaking ability, sometimes being a bit slow to get back defensively.

Williams’ offensive arsenal in terms of scoring is fairly average, causing some to label him as a bit of a one-dimensional passer, particularly earlier in his career. In all fairness, much of this has to do with the fact that he’s constantly surrounded by future NBA players and simply does not need to have huge offensive outbursts for his team to win. Regardless, this is another part of his game that NBA teams will study closely.

Already noted are the low number of attempts from long-range that make his accuracy from 3-point range tough to get a good read on. His release is both on the slow-side as well as flat-footed, two things he will have to work very hard to improve if he wants to have any shot at getting clean looks against long and hyper-athletic NBA guards.

Williams’ in-between game is also in need of some serious polish. Rarely will you see him pull-up from mid-range for a jump-shot, something that he will have to add to his arsenal considering his lack of explosiveness both getting to and finishing at the rim. Inside the paint he would be well served to work on his floaters and runners to help him get his shot off better against athletic big men when a clear path to the lane isn’t there. When he does get to the rim, Williams doesn’t have an explosive vertical leap he can rely on to help him finish here, meaning he will have to work that much harder on his offense to help diversify his game.

As great of a point guard as Williams is, his leadership skills still lag far behind his actual playmaking ability. Just as much as Williams doesn’t get fazed by opponents being thrown in his face or by a highlight reel assist that he makes, he also doesn’t show much emotion or passion when things aren’t going his team’s way. He has the credibility and then some to get on his teammates in the huddle and snap them out of their funk, but is still too quiet, passive or maybe apathetic to do so. We started to see some better signs here later on in the season, so it will be interesting to see how he develops this part of his game considering that he only really had one full season at UConn (his sophomore year) without disruption.

Off the court, there are some reasons for NBA teams to be concerned or, at the very least, some issues that will be studied closely. Over the summer, prior to his junior year, Williams (and fellow point guard teammate AJ Price) was arrested and later charged with four counts of third-degree felony larceny for the theft of four laptops valued at $11,000 from student dorm rooms, allegedly belonging to members of UConn’s women’s athletic teams. According to police reports, Williams and his accomplices attempted to sell the laptops to pawnshops in Connecticut. Williams entered Connecticut’s accelerated rehabilitation program, a form of probation for first time offenders that ultimately helped him get off easier than teammate A.J. Price. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation and ordered to do 400 hours of community service, as well as being punished individually by UConn, being suspended for the entire first semester and non-conference slate until January 4th.

NBA teams will likely do their own meticulous research behind the scenes to evaluate how seriously they will take these issues, which makes it difficult to project how much, if at all, this will hurt his draft stock when it’s all said and done.

As a freshman, Williams played a nice role for UConn to start off the season, so well that many fans called for him to replace senior Taliek Brown in the starting lineup. His season was cut short after only 16 games after being declared academically ineligible for the Spring semester.

With Ben Gordon and Taliek Brown out of the picture as in his sophomore season, Williams blossomed into one of the top point guards in the country. He averaged just under 10 points a game and 8 assists, shooting 40% from both the field and 3-point range. UConn made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament where they were upset by NC State, his best game of the year in terms of points (22), but also his worst in terms of assists (4) compared with turnovers (6).

Williams tried out for and made the U.S. U-21 national team that competed in the World Championships in Argentina and ended up finishing a disappointing fifth after a shocking loss in the quarterfinals to Canada. This team included college stars such as Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, Rajon Rondo, Allan Ray and countless others. Williams started in 6 of 8 games and averaged 4 points and 4 assists on 35% shooting from the field in 20.5 minutes per game.

As a junior, Williams was suspended as mentioned above for the laptop incident and returned to the court in time for the start of the Big East season on January 4th against Marquette. It took him time to regain his stamina but Williams clearly looked like a much better player than he was the year before. At the time of this report he’s increased his scoring average to just under 12 points per game, his assists to 8.5 as well as his turnovers slightly to 3.5.

In a draft so devoid of legit first round caliber point guard prospects, Williams appears to be a lock to enter the draft this year and keep his name in if he likes what he is hearing. His terrific performances in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, completely bailing his team out and taking them on his shoulders (see links: NCAA Tournament Stock Watch), have made him a strong candidate for the top-20 portion of the draft and possibly even a lottery pick depending on how his workouts play out.

NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (round of 32, Sunday games)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Jonathan Watters
Jonathan Watters
Mar 20, 2006, 02:55 am
Without a doubt the catalyst behind UConn’s victory, as well as the main reason his team was here in the first place after needing to bail them out in the first round with a 21 point, 8 assist performance, Marcus Williams appears to be making a stronger case for being projected as a lottery pick with every game that goes by.

He started off the game calmly and in control, getting everyone around him involved and doing a wonderful job (as usual) of getting inside the lane and finding the open man with ease. His knack for penetrating Kentucky’s tight zone with his outstanding ball-handling skills was likely the difference maker in this closely contested and high-scoring contest. Unlike what we’ve been accustomed to in the past, though, Kentucky’s frontcourt appeared to have been instructed to not rotate over and instead forced him to finish the play himself. Williams did not have much of a problem doing so, using his excellent strength to score with the glass or getting to the free throw line once Kentucky’s big men did rotate over after it was clear that he was going all the way. 16 of his 20 points came in the 2nd half when UConn’s big men were struggling with foul trouble and/or mediocrity.

Williams mixed up his scoring with his passing as well, dishing out 5 or 8 assists depending on which boxscore you believe, making a number of sensational full-court pinpoint passes with the greatest of ease. His huge hands allowed him to just whip passes all over the floor with his trademark quick release and delivery, whether it was sideways to a shooter spotting up on the wing or forwards into the post to one of his bigs.

He was poised in the clutch as well, knocking down four big free throws to ice the game for his team. All in all Marcus Williams is having a phenomenal NCAA tournament so far.

In Case You Missed It...the Top Weekly Performers, 2/20-2/27

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Feb 28, 2006, 03:19 am
Racking up 35 assists and 3 huge wins in the matter of 8 days, no point guard has been more impressive leading his team down the stretch as Marcus Williams has at UConn.

Sandwiched in between those three games was the first triple-double by a UConn player in over two years, with the last coming by Emeka Okafor in December of 2003 against Army. Williams’ feat came against tougher competition and included some late-game heroics (an offensive rebound with 10 seconds remaining and ensuing game tying shot to send the game to overtime) to help his team come away with the win, but it also did a great job highlighting for us all of his strengths and weaknesses in a 42 minute overtime performance against Notre Dame.

Williams was at his absolute best in the first half in particular against the Irish last Tuesday, running his team to perfection on the way to a 16 point lead at the end of the 1st half, showing exquisite playmaking skills and combining that with some impressive scoring and rebounding ability to boot. He finished the first half with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 0 turnovers, using his killer crossover to constantly keep his man off-balance and get in the lane to find the open man, distributing the ball equally amongst all of his extremely talented teammates, knocking down a number of deep 3-pointers when his man sagged off him, and controlling the tempo of the game wonderfully by constantly shoving the ball down his opponent’s throat.

No point guard in the country knows his teammates’ strengths better than Williams does. He distributes the ball exactly the way Coach Jim Calhoun would want him to, rewarding his teammates after a strong rebound or nice defensive play with an easy bucket the next time down the floor to ensure they remain happy and keeping the morale of the team high in the process by making sure that everyone puts in maximum effort for every second they are on the court. That’s not easy when you have as much talent as UConn does this year, but Williams does a great job making sure everyone gets involved, particularly when it comes to his big men, who might otherwise starve for touches on most NCAA teams.

In transition is where Williams’ stripes as a point guard really come out, as he organizes the break wonderfully, makes spectacular passes to his incredibly athletic frontcourt look easy, and knows how to put the ball in the cup himself if needed if the pass isn’t there. He’s got great size and strength to get the job done, and his huge hands make impossible passing angles look simple since he has the peripheral vision to move the ball to the sides or behind him with a quick swoop and great accuracy when other point guards would struggle getting the ball off their finger tips. His mind moves quickly even though his feet don’t; he’s trademarked the art of the one-handed pinpointed accuracy bullet pass into the post out of absolutely nowhere to the point that he should be able to collect royalties on it in the future.

There is little doubt that Williams is the best point guard in the country as far as the sheer arsenal of passes he has in his arsenal to make his teammates better. His outstanding ball-handling skills make him a lethal weapon on the drive and dish, and after two years with him at the helm, his teammates know exactly where to move towards the basket to be rewarded with an easy bucket underneath the hoop. This year more than ever he’s done a great job of playing under control, taking care of the ball under pressure and rarely being rattled into making a bad decision.

Williams’ weaknesses were exposed as well in this nail biting overtime finish. UConn was up by 19 points early in the 2nd half and completely relinquished their lead to the point that they were trailing with a few minutes left on the clock. Just as much as Williams doesn’t get fazed by opponents being thrown in his face or by a highlight reel assist that he makes, he also doesn’t show much leadership ability when things aren’t going his team’s way. He has the credibility and then some to get on his teammates in the huddle and snap them of their funk, but is still too quiet, passive or maybe apathetic to do so. Defensively he had a tough time staying in front of a very average athlete in Chris Quinn, not showing much concern for giving up easy baskets, displaying questionable lateral quickness and putting too much pressure on his 3 outstanding shot-blockers to rotate and make up for his mistakes.

Williams is certainly not a great athlete, and this also shows up on the offensive end where his 1st step would be easily contained if it weren’t for his fantastic ball-handling skills. It’s not clear how this part of his game will translate to the NBA where the point guards are so much more athletic. Offensively he did a good job in this particular game, but there are still questions about how effective an outside shooter he is, considering his slow and flat-footed release and the fact that he’s only knocked down 12 3’s all season long. We don’t ever see much of an in-between game from Williams in terms of pulling up off the dribble for mid-range jumpers. When the opposing team makes him go all the way to the basket to finish rather than dishing off like he clearly prefers, he doesn’t have the spring in his step to really get very far off the ground to finish amongst the trees. He’s experimented a bit with some floaters and runners to counter this problem, but still has to work on his touch around the basket.

Despite these obvious flaws, Marcus Williams still might be the best PG prospect in this year’s draft when it’s all said and done. One NBA scout we spoke to this week said he has Williams ranked as the “4th or 5th best PG on our board right now, but clearly 1st in terms of talent.” Why the discrepancy? “The off the court problems need to be looked into. We’re not sure what to make of them right now. We’ll have to do our homework on everything,” the scout said. What’s clear is that a deep run in the NCAA tournament with Williams at UConn’s helm could do wonders in terms of helping scouts forget about his run-in with the law earlier this year.

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