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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Williams back on Spurs roster

    Hoops Notes

    In the year following his early exit, former UA forward Marcus Williams has had a rollercoaster type year in the NBA.

    After getting drafted 33rd overall in the June draft, Williams was cut and then sent down to the Austin Toros, the Spurs’ affiliate in the NBA Development League.

    Now he’s back with the Spurs after signing a contract on Wednesday.

    Williams averaged 18.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in nine games with the Toros.

    Jawann McClellan, a UA senior guard who played two years with Williams, called it a learning experience for him.

    “”I think it’s a lesson for him, personally,”” McClellan said. “”I think sending him down to the D-league has humbled him since I’ve talked to him. I still think he has a shot, I just think he has to keep his head up and keep fighting.””

    McClellan admitted that if you didn’t know Williams, or even if you weren’t close to him, “”it took a lot to get to him.””

    Williams was suspended for last year’s home ASU game for an off-the-court problem. Although Williams maintained he was not looking to he next level, UA head coach Lute Olson said he would have been shocked if Williams had come back for a third season at Arizona.

    McClellan said this year’s team is void of players looking at the NBA, and it has helped the Wildcats to a 9-2 record thus far.

    “”With this year’s team, no one is thinking about their futures,”” he said. “”No one’s thinking about being a lottery pick or getting drafted. We want to win now, and that’s the good thing about being young. You don’t know any better. You just go out there and play hard.””

    McClellan, Walters miss practice, receive pardon

    UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill gave his team three days off for Christmas after Saturday’s 74-58 win over San Diego State, and then followed with two hard practices on Wednesday and Thursday, likening them beforehand to being potential “”barf-a-thons.””

    O’Neill appeared to stand firm that if any player missed Wednesday’s 3 p.m. practice – the first after a three-day Christmas break -there would be serious reprimand involved.

    But after McClellan and center Kirk Walters could not quite make it back to Tucson after their flight from Houston was canceled Wednesday morning due to mechanical problems with the plane, O’Neill excused the two players, calling the situation uncontrollable.

    O’Neill told players to work out twice over the break, trusting that they would be motivated to face Memphis in the upcoming days.

    “”I think our guys are in good shape, so they were able to hold up and really came back and had two good practices,”” O’Neill said.

    Budinger hoping to play healthy against Memphis

    Forward Chase Budinger played through soreness in his lower back in last week’s win over SDSU, describing his injury as a freak accident he suffered before the game.

    Budinger was limited to 13 points, and he shot just 5-for-13 in the win.

    During the break, Budinger was able to get some rest and ice his back at home in San Diego. Budinger even went to see a masseuse.

    “”My back kind of just locked up on me,”” he said. “”I definitely felt it throughout the whole game. I just had to play through it and not let it bother me at all. Hopefully it’s done with and it will be clear and I’ll be all healthy.””

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