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Williams excited about fresh start with Jazz


Posted Jul 13 2012 6:50AM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Any apprehension Marvin Williams had about coming to the Utah Jazz was eased in a conversation with North Carolina coach Roy Williams.

"He thought it would be a new start for me," Marvin Williams said Thursday. "Anytime he feels good about something, it definitely calms my nerves a little."

Marvin Williams won a national championship with the Tar Heels as a freshman in 2005.

The 6-foot-9 small forward was drafted No. 2 overall a few months later, ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul.

While Marvin Williams never reached the superstar status of the two point guards, he still believes he has plenty of upside and can make the Jazz better.

"This is a team that's already been established," Marvin Williams said Thursday upon being introduced as the team's newest member. "They made the playoffs last year, so whatever role I have to come in and fill, I want to go out there and do it to the best of my ability."

Marvin Williams was acquired last week in a trade that sent Jazz point guard Devin Harris to the Atlanta Hawks. The deal was formally announced Wednesday when a league-wide moratorium on player signings was lifted. Utah also acquired point guard Mo Williams in a four-team trade last week.

Marvin Williams said he has yet to talk extensively with coaches about their plans for him, but he could step into a starting small forward role if Gordon Hayward moves to shooting guard as expected.

The team also has Paul Millsap, who can play both forward positions.

Marvin Williams acknowledged Thursday he was a bit surprised at being traded, but had no major apprehension about coming to Utah - other than having to buy some new clothes to deal with the harsh winters.

The eighth-year pro said he already knows the team will compete hard, as evidenced by a four-overtime thriller the two clubs played in Atlanta last season.

"I get tired just rethinking it ... four overtimes," he said. "It was by far the longest game I ever played in. It just seemed like it would never end. Utah played so hard. I'm sure they were so exhausted. We were really exhausted after that one, but it was a fun game. I don't know if I ever want to play a four-OT game again, but it's fun to say that I've done it."

Marvin Williams has worn No. 24 since he was a young teen, but knows Millsap already owns that jersey. His second choice was No. 4 - but that number was worn by Jazz great Adrian Dantley and is retired.

He said he settled on No. 2 for no reason -- even if it's his overall draft number.

"Some may say I do (still have something to prove)," Marvin Williams said. "My dream was to play in the NBA, period. I've been living my dream. The only thing I have to prove is to myself. That's how I always felt."

He points out he has been in the league seven years, played in the postseason and yet is only 26 years old.

Last year in Atlanta, he averaged double figures for the sixth straight season. He averaged 10.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He also shot a career-best 39 percent from 3-point range - an area of need for the Jazz, who shot .323 as a team, 27th in the league.

"It was my best year shooting from 3-point range, but I still feel like I can improve," he said. "If Utah really needs that, I'm hoping I can come in and help them out in that area."

Marvin Williams said he will know more after next week's meeting.

For now he's headed back to Chapel Hill for the first week of classes as he works toward finishing up his sociology degree. He had an 11:30 a.m. Friday class in sports management.

In the fall, it's back to Utah.

"I've been in Atlanta the last seven years," he said. "That's all I've ever known. This is a new opportunity. I get a chance to play with new guys, play for a new coach, live in a new city. It's all going to be something new for me, so definitely it's an exciting time."

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