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Big Summer Ahead for Sean Williams
By Matthew McQueeny, NJNets.com
April 29, 2008
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If anything, Sean Williams learned one thing from his first season in the NBA:
“Patience is a virtue,” said the baritone-voiced 21 year-old.
Williams – like the Nets – had a rollercoaster of a season. In his ascendant moments, he showed an athleticism and instinct nonpareil. In his completely mortal moments, he exhibited all the traits of a young player out of sorts with schemes and assignments.
Then again, that can be the story for most high-upside first-year pros.
Said Nets President Rod Thorn, “Sean’s year was like a lot of rookies: he had some early success, fell back a little, and then had some more success around the all-star break. Then after the all-star break did not have much success so I think he played more games this year than he has every played by far. I’m sure he got a little tired as the season wore on. I heard him saying several times that his legs felt heavy. I think he’s another player that needs some strength, but he’s a guy who showed at three or four different periods of the season that he could be a player that could be a helpful player. It’s a big summer for him with summer league, other work he’ll be doing this summer. Athletically, he’s certainly in the top 10 percent of the league athletically and has an upside and it’s up to us and to him to make sure that he does what he needs to do in order to get better.”
Williams, who only started playing organized basketball in the summer before his senior year in high school, played 69 total games in three college seasons at Boston College. In his rookie season with New Jersey, he played in 73 contests. He finished the year with averages of 5.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 17.5 minutes a game.
He did, however, start 29 games, including a stretch from late December to early February in which he started 24 of 25 games. In that stretch he had slightly better averages of 7.5 points on 50 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks.
While consistency was an issue, it was his moments of unparalleled explosion that had those who watched seeing the future. Against the Kings on December 18th, he had 11 points, eight blocks, and seven rebounds; on November 17th against the Heat he had 22 points and eight rebounds; against the Wizards on December 28th his line was 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks; and at the Clippers on January 19th the rookie notched 11 points, 11 rebounds, and six blocks. In all, he had 14 double-digit scoring efforts, four double-digit rebounding efforts, and blocked 106 shots, making him only the third rookie in team history to reach the century mark in swats (Kenyon Martin, Mike Gminski).
Now that he knows what it is like to go through an entire NBA season, Williams looks to build this summer and come back better next season.
“I take that I have a lot to work on and it’s going to be a long hot summer in that gym and I’m going to love it. There’s a lot of motivation not making the playoffs. We went into the year with a lot of expectations and for us not to make the playoffs; it just shows how much work we have for this team and for me.”
Outside of summer league, a few trips back up to New Jersey and a quick summer vacation with his girlfriend, Sean will be mostly in Houston in the gym working with John Lucas.
“Specifically I want to work at my aggressiveness on the boards and just knowledge of the game. Every time I play I learn something about the game. I just want to keep playing so I can learn and get better at the game. I’m still young at this game and I feel my ceiling is very high. I still can’t even touch it with as much height as I have.”
Outside of being late once for a shoot around, magnified because it was before the Nets first preseason game of the season, Williams was noted for being a stand up citizen and teammate this year. According to him, there is still much to learn though.
“I definitely did get a lot out of this year. There are a lot of things that I want to work on for next year outside of basketball - from a professionalism standpoint - like being on time. I’m on time but I’m on time.”
“You have to be early, not on time.”
He will look to carry those professional lessons into his sophomore season in the NBA, because he certainly has all the physical assets he needs.
“For me next year is really I feel about establishing myself. I’m not going to be a rookie anymore so you can’t fall back on that. I’m going to have to come in and be a pro.”
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