Deron Williams, who earlier this summer became the first Fighting Illini to make the U.S. Olympic basketball team, is now the first Illini ever to win an Olympic basketball gold medal.
Williams had seven points, one assist, one rebound and one steal in 16 minutes of play vs. Spain. He made perhaps his biggest shot of the Olympics during the fourth quarter, hitting a 3-pointer in a tight game with 7:30 left that gave the U.S. a seven-point lead.
Over the eight games in Beijing, Williams averaged 8 points in 19 minutes and was third on the team with 22 assists. But just as during his Illinois career, it was not about individual statistics. Instead, his focus only was on one thing: winning.
DERON WILLIAMS QUOTES (courtesy of USA Basketball)
On winning the gold medal... "It feels like gold! It's heavy, it feels great. It was a lot of hard work. We put a lot into this. We've been (together) for a month now, 28 days away from my kids, I can't wait to get back to see them. We put a lot of work and effort into it and it all paid off.
"It feels great for us to be the only anthem being played, we represented our country the right way."
On his overall Olympic experience...
"It's been a great experience for me, a lifetime experience. Something I'm going to cherish the rest of my life. It makes it so much sweeter now that I have the gold medal around my neck. I have stories to tell my kids. It's kind of surreal right now to think that I'm an Olympic champion."
Where this ranks in his athletic career...
"No. 1 on my list. I don't have an NBA championship, I don't have a college championship. But even if I did I'd still think the same. This is for your country, it's not for your team it's for your whole country, for a whole nation of people back home supporting us. For our troops overseas fighting for us. This is for everybody."
U of I SID Office