DeRozan, Williams lead Raptors to 6th straight win (Yahoo Sports)

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 26: DeMar DeRozan #10 and Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Toronto Raptors go up for a rebound against the Atlanta Hawks on November 26, 2014 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

ATLANTA (AP) — DeMar DeRozan loves when the Toronto Raptors have a balanced scoring attack.


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Manhattan’s Rich Williams Throws Down Last-Second Alley-Oop to Send Game to OT

It’s only the Tip-Off Marathon, but college basketball has already seen some thrilling madness this season.

With 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Manhattan trailed UMass 61-59. The Jaspers had the ball at their own baseline and needed a clutch play to tie—or win—the game.

That’s when Manhattan’s Emmy Andujar set 6’5″ teammate Rich Williams up for the game-tying alley-oop with a great lob on the inbounds pass.

Williams’ last-second basket tied the game at 61-61, sending it to overtime.

[Vine]

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Heat’s Shabazz Napier Turns Deron Williams All Around the Court with Spin

Rookies around the NBA are starting to get comfortable and more confident as the season continues, including Miami Heat point guard Shabazz Napier.

The former Connecticut Huskies star showed off his terrific ball-handling skills on Monday against the Brooklyn Nets, spinning Deron Williams around.

[Vine]

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Indiana suspends Williams, Robinson and Holt

They will sit out the start of the season because of failed drug tests.

      
 

 

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Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson and Emmitt Holt Suspended by Indiana

The seemingly relentless stream of bad news for Indiana University’s basketball program continued Monday, as the team suspended sophomores Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson for failed drug tests, as well as freshman Emmitt Holt for his recent alcohol-related charges.   

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman shared the news via Twitter:

Zach Osterman of the Indy Star added the following comment from Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean:

The suspension of Williams and Robinson marks the newest in a surge of alcohol- or drug-related incidents for Crean’s program in 2014.   

Sophomore Devin Davis remains hospitalized in serious condition after he was struck by a car being driven by Holt, whose blood alcohol content was measured at 0.025, over the limit for a minor in Indiana (.02).

In February, Hanner Mosquera-Perea was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. In April, Robinson and star point guard Yogi Ferrell were arrested and charged for consuming alcohol and possessing fake IDs.

The latter two matters have been resolved legally, but Indiana’s basketball players are not painting the program in a positive light.

Crean, via InsideTheHall.com’s Jordan Littman, put it simply:

 

On his radio show, former Hoosier Dan Dakich, via the Indy Star‘s Matthew Glenesk, gave his thoughts on the Hoosiers’ string of run-ins with the law.

“I’m so tired of hearing, ‘Well kids make mistakes.’ No they don’t,” he said. “Not when they care about their program. Not when they care about being a basketball player more than anything else.”

While the program has some serious work to do to improve its suddenly tarnished image, the Hoosiers will also be hurting on the hardwood while this trio is sidelined.

Williams, who started all 32 games as a freshman, figures to be a major contributor after coming on strong at the end of last season and shining during a summer trip to Canada. Robinson averaged 16.9 minutes per contest a year ago and could either start or come in early off the bench.

A Nov. 20 meeting against SMU will undoubtedly prove difficult with neither player in uniform.

But while Indiana will miss its contributions on the court, this newest development is just another reminder of an increasingly concerning problem in Bloomington.

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UNC’s Roy Williams addresses NCAA investigation

“Our guys are trying to stay focused because there’s quite a bit of junk,” Williams said.

      
 

 

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North Carolina’s Roy Williams addresses NCAA investigation

“Our guys are trying to stay focused because there’s quite a bit of junk,” Williams said.

      
 

 

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Renewed Deron Williams Is Brooklyn Nets’ Best Path to Exceeding Expectations

No matter how weak the Eastern Conference may be during the 2014-15 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets are by no means guaranteed to lock up one of the eight postseason berths.

But Deron Williams can change that, so long as he continues to look refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed.

Heading into the campaign, opinions about how last year’s No. 6 seed would fare tended to fall within shouting distance of one another.

ESPN’s summer forecast had the Nets winning 38 games and earning the final spot in the playoff field, while Bleacher Report’s Josh Martin put Brooklyn in an identical spot despite handing it another two victories throughout the campaign.

After factoring in Brook Lopez‘s injury and ensuing fragility, Kevin Pelton’s projection systems gave Brooklyn 36 (SCHOENE) and 35 wins (Real Plus-Minus), as relayed by ESPN Insider Jordan Brenner (subscription required).

Then, putting the Nets in the “Eastern Conference Morass: Four Teams, Two Spots” section of his tier-based rankings of all 30 teams on Grantland, Zach Lowe wrote the following:

The team most likely to vault into the above group—if its key guys can stay healthy. The Nets are boring, and they’re going through an identity transformation that might have them looking more like the P.J. Carlesimo plodders from 2012-13 than Jason Kidd’s turnover-forcing small-ball machine that flummoxed the league after January 1 last season.

And that’s fine, provided the various lower extremities of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez remain intact.

But what if Williams’ ankles can do more than stay healthy? What if he can turn the clock back a few years, reminding us all of a point guard who was right up there with Chris Paul in any discussion about the league’s best at the smallest position on the court?

If Williams is back to being D-Will—and there are many indications that he is—then the Nets, who open the season Wednesday night in Boston against the Celtics, have every reason to be cautiously optimistic about the 2014-15 season,” writes NBA.com’s Lenn Robbins.

Thus far—and we’ll get to the opening-night loss that defies this narrative a bit later—those indications have been rather widespread.

“I already got it back. It’s confidence, man. It’s hard to play basketball when you can hardly walk. It’s just tough to do,” he told Robbins. “I talked to Jarrett [Jack]. He had surgery his rookie year and he said it took three years before it felt like he was all the way back. I feel night and day better than last year.”

And most telling of all, “If this is the best my ankle ever got, then I’d be happy, because it’s 300 times better than it was last year.”

Three-hundred is a rather large number, and a literal interpretation of that would bode well for a player who averaged 14.3 points and 6.1 assists per game.

If Williams is able to move around freely, he can resume his terrorization of defenders, something he achieves through his physicality as well as his surprisingly quick and deft motions.

But there are other signs that Williams is back, overcoming that ridiculously long list of injuries that you can see up above by mousing over the picture and clicking on the individual injury spots. He’s coaching up his teammates and acting fully involved in the team proceedings, which didn’t happen last year, and he’s actually played rather well thus far.

According to RealGM, the 30-year-old point guard averaged 14.2 points and 5.8 assists per game in the preseason, doing so while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and a scorching 46.7 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

His player efficiency rating was an impressive 24.2, and his per-minute numbers make him stand out even more.

In addition to producing plays like that one, Williams spent only 26.7 minutes per game on the floor in his five appearances. So, how do his per-36-minute performances look? Even better, as he averaged 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.2 steals while maintaining his shooting percentages.

It’s a far cry from the 2010-11 season, when he became the most recent player to average 20 and 10 over the course of a season.

However, it’s a step up from his performance last year—the same one that led to a 17.6 PER, which was his lowest mark since his sophomore season back in 2006-07.

We feel like we have a chance to win,” the rejuvenated point guard told reporters following the conclusion of the exhibition season. “As long as we believe that, that’s all that matters. Whatever the predictions are, whatever you guys are saying in the papers, all that doesn’t matter as long as we believe we can compete with anybody.”

And they can, so long as Williams is looking more like prime Williams than 2013-14 Williams. That’s the biggest key of all if the Nets hope to exceed the modest expectations.

While it would be nice if Lopez could remain healthy throughout the season and bring a scoring punch to the frontcourt, Williams is more important. While it would be nice if Kevin Garnett could tell Father Time to take a hike, Williams is more important. While it would be nice if Bojan Bogdanovic could experience a seamless transition during his rookie season, Williams is more important. While it would be nice if Joe Johnson could play like an All-Star rather than become an inexplicable All-Star by default, Williams is more important.

Quite simply, Williams is most important.

New head coach Lionel Hollins runs an old-school system, as opposed to Jason Kidd’s small-ball stylings last year, and everything filters through the point guard.

The floor general is very much the head of the snake in such a traditional offense, and Williams is rather easily the best option on the roster. Jarrett Jack and Jorge Gutierrez aren’t cut from the same cloth as floor generals. While both can be solid backups and role players, they’re best suited for more minor roles.

Of course, the transition from Kidd to Hollins is going to take some adjustment.

I really have no answer,” Williams told the New York Daily News‘ Stefan Bondy after a 121-105 loss to the Boston Celtics opened his 2014-15 season. “We just looked like (junk) out there. We weren‘t rotating right. We weren’t helping out. They were getting layup after layup. It’s hard to win like that.”

The defense was horrific against Rajon Rondo and the C’s, largely when guarding pick-and-roll sets.

But even in a blowout loss to open the campaign, there was room for encouragement on the Williams front, especially because it’s the first game that matters in the Hollins tenure. The defense will come around under a defense-oriented head coach, and Williams was already moving better than he did all of last year.

Though he didn’t shoot the ball efficiently and failed to connect on any of his three attempts from beyond the arc, all while committing four turnovers, he did manage to record 19 points, three rebounds and eight assists.

It’s hard to believe, but those are numbers that he matched or exceeded only twice throughout the entire 2013-14 campaign.

Further improvement is coming, both for Brooklyn as a whole and Williams as an individual.

Even in the wake of such an awful defeat to kick things off, things feel a bit different for the Nets. For the first time in a while, allowing the bulk of the offseason and preseason to trump one contest, Williams has given his supporters reason to believe he’s on the track toward redemption.

 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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Roy Williams: Fraud report a ‘very sad time’ for UNC

Williams said he was ‘dumbfounded’ by alleged unchecked fraud for nearly two decades.

      
 

 

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UNC’s Williams: ‘Very sad time’ after fraud report (Yahoo Sports)

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams said Friday it’s a ”very sad time” at the school after an investigation found widespread academic fraud and adds that his program ”thought we were doing the right thing.” After his team’s exhibition victory Friday night, Williams spoke for the first time in response to a report released Wednesday that outlined how fraud ran unchecked in a department for nearly two decades. It involved more than 3,100 students – about half were athletes – taking sham classes and earning artificially high grades in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein called the system a ”shadow curriculum” running from 1993 to 2011 in AFAM.

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