* Former Tar Heel star Donald Williams has helped Plannja Basket to nine consecutive wins since his arrival in Lulea, Sweden. Plannja Basket, now 14-5 and just one game out of first-place, was 5-5 when Williams was hired to replace Brett Nelson (Florida).
Williams netted 19 points Saturday in a 97-76 Swedish League victory. On the season, Williams is just two points shy of averaging 20 points per game, has played 33.3 minutes per game and has connected on 15-of-37 (40.5%) three-point shots during his 9-0 run in Sweden.
PANTHERS' PEPPERS PLAYOFF-BOUND
* Julius Peppers recorded his sixth sack of the year in helping the Carolina Panthers to a 20-14 win over Detroit. The Panthers, 10-5, have won the NFC South title and are headed to the NFL playoffs. The Friday edition of the USA TODAY included "Two minutes with ... Peppers."
Peppers said he was not slighted that he was not named to the NFC Pro Bowl team, but thought that teammate Mike Rucker (DE with 12 sacks) "would have made it. He was the one who really got jerked around."
Asked his take on the Tar Heels' basketball program under Roy Williams, Peppers, a Final Four, said, "I think it was a good idea to get Roy Williams. They've got some great young players, and I think they can take that program back to where it used to be - winning national titles and going to the Final Four."
Peppers stated that he still has a love for the game and misses it, but he does not play or even shoot around very much. "I just watch a lot of basketball when I can, and that's what I enjoy," Peppers said.
Peppers on Christmas shopping: "I'm not a big holiday person. I'm a last-minute shopper. I'll be at the mall on Christmas Eve."
NBA CONTRACTS AND SALARIES
* Last week, The USA TODAY listed salaries and contract status for all NBA players currently on a roster. Everybody from A (Abdul-Wahad)-to-Z (Yao Ming, sorry, no Zs) or from Kevin Garnett ($28 million)-to-Jason Kapono ($366,971).
Here's a look at the NBA Tar Heels by salary for this season and current contract figures --
Vince Carter (Raptors): $11,326,000 on a 6-year contract at $79.3 million through 2007.
Hubert Davis (Pistons): $2,895,000 on a 4-year contract at $10 million through 2004.
Joseph Forte (released by Seattle): $1,095,000 on final year of 3-year contract signed as a first-round draft pick.
Rick Fox (Lakers): $4,550,000 on a 6-year contract at $24.1 million through 2005.
Brendan Haywood (Wizards): $1,125,360 on a 4-year contract at $4.89 million through 2005.
Antawn Jamison (Mavericks): $11,326,000 on a 6-year contract at $79.3 million through 2008.
George Lynch (Hornets): $2,800,000 on a 7-year contract at $18.2 million through 2006.
Jeff McInnis (Blazers): $3,300,000 on a 3-year contract at $9 million through 2005.
Eric Montross (Raptors - retired): $2,960,000 on an 11-year contract at $17 million through 2005.
Jerry Stackhouse (Wizards): $6,500,000 on a 4-year contract at $33 million through 2007.
Rasheed Wallace (Blazers): $16,990,000 on a 6-year contract at $80 million through 2004.
Scott Williams (Suns): $1,070,000 on a 1-year contract.
Shammond Williams (Magic): $751,159 on a 1-year contract.