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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Williams goes 33rd in 2007 NBA draft

    Former Wildcat Marcus Williams dunks for two of his game-high 25 points in a 111-56 win over the University of Victoria in an exhibition game in McKale Center Nov. 8. Williams was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs Thursday and will play for the team this summer before launching his NBA career.
    Former Wildcat Marcus Williams dunks for two of his game-high 25 points in a 111-56 win over the University of Victoria in an exhibition game in McKale Center Nov. 8. Williams was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs Thursday and will play for the team this summer before launching his NBA career.

    Former Arizona men’s basketball player Marcus Williams was selected by the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs as the 33rd overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, held Thursday at New York’s Madison Square Garden. He was the only Wildcat selected.

    “”I’m happy with the pick,”” Williams said in a phone interview from Las Vegas, where he watched the draft with his family.

    The Spurs, who have won four titles since 1999, passed up Williams with their 28th
    First-round picks are guaranteed a paycheck for two years at a minimum of about $720,000 per season. Second-rounders are not guaranteed a contract, and Williams will work with the Spurs this summer to try to make the team.

    Williams said he had a good pre-draft workout with the team, and the Spurs have stated they are in need of young players.

    As a bonus,

    I think he’ll do well there. The Spurs are the cream of the crop.

    – Josh Pastner, UA assistant head coach of Marcus Williams

    it looks as though Williams may not have to battle with Splitter for a spot on the team.

    Many sources have stated that the 22-year-old Splitter, who pulled out of the draft three times before this year, must buy out his current Brazilian contract, which is said to be extensive.

    Staying with his team in Brazil would keep Splitter away from the Spurs for a year or two, giving Williams more elbow room in pushing for a spot on the roster.

    Pastner said he feels Williams can earn a spot on the roster and will make a name for himself in the NBA over time.

    “”He’s been picked by a team that’s already got a lot of the pieces put together,”” Pastner said, “”so it’s a situation where he’ll have an opportunity to learn and develop from the veteran guys and eventually make an impact.””

    After Williams was chosen, ESPN

    analyst Jay Bilas suggested what the 6-foot-7 Williams could bring to San Antonio.

    “”He has very good size for a small forward,” Bilas said. “”He’s a good offensive player and versatile scorer. He moves without the ball and is almost fearless on the offensive end.

    “”He’s not a great 3-point shooter, in fact not a 3-point shooter at all. The question is, what is his commitment going to be on defense and on the glass? If he can improve his strength and work ethic, I think he has a chance to be a really solid NBA player.”

    All alone

    Ivan Radenovic and Mustafa Shakur will try to earn spots on teams as free agents. Radenovic will play for the Los Angeles Clippers’ summer team, and he has received many offers to play in Europe, Pastner said.

    Meanwhile, Shakur will play with the Sacramento Kings’ summer team, one of the teams he worked out with in preparing for the draft. Shakur’s brother, Mujahid, said the Kings offered Mustafa some guaranteed money and an invitation to their veterans camp in the fall.

    Mustafa will be trying to make Sacramento as a backup to former star UA point guard Mike Bibby under new coach Reggie Theus.

    “”I’m disappointed that both of those guys didn’t get drafted,”” Pastner said. “”I was surprised at some of the picks that were taken ahead of them in the second round. I think Mustafa and Ivan will hook up with a team on the free-agent side and do what they can to make a squad.””

    And 1

    Williams is the 59th Wildcat to be selected since 1948. … UA head coach Lute Olson has now produced 53 NBA draft picks. … Former Wildcat center Channing Frye was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers from the New York Knicks Thursday. He will join No. 1 pick Greg Oden and No. 37 pick Josh McRoberts.

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