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Monday, June 05, 2006

Shawne Williams Learning the Ropes

Williams learning the ropes

Don Wade, Memphis Commercial Appeal

June 4, 2006

Shawne Williams is in basketball purgatory.

He no longer plays college basketball for the University of Memphis, and he is yet to have a home in the NBA.

But in a few weeks he will. Until then, the 6-9 forward is hopping from city to city to audition. He hit both Chicago and Philadelphia with a nice six-hour delay on an airport runway slowing down the game. "We watched 'King Kong' two times, and that's a three-hour movie," Williams said. "I wanted to get seven, eight hours of sleep, but I couldn't."

Thus, Williams worked out for the 76ers at less than his best.

"I just had to suck it up," he said.

He gave himself an 8.5 on a 1-to-10 scale when judging his workout for Philly, saying, "I had a long night. I feel like I did good. I didn't quit. I'm probably the youngest player (in the group), and I held my own."

Williams averaged 13.3 points 6.2 rebounds for the Tigers, as they fell one game shy of the Final Four. He said Tigers coach John Calipari told him both during and after the season that this was the right time for him to come out and declare for the draft.

Calipari, Williams says, also told him that now it's entirely on the player to determine how much he improves.

"He told me to get ready to play because nobody's going to help me on the court," Williams said. "It's going to be me, by myself. He told me it's going to be tough mentally."

He didn't tell him about a six-hour delay on an airport runway, but Calipari did stress the importance of Williams knowing when to hit the gas and when to put on the brakes.
"I've got to get plenty of rest," Williams said, "and keep my body regenerated."

After all, a six-hour runway delay can make you feel like there's a gorilla on your back.

-- Don Wade: 901-529-2358

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