Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

This week's update on former Tar Heel hoopsters ...<br><br><center><i>Pictured -- Ademola Okulaja</i></center>


* Ademola Okulaja has signed on for another season in Spain's ACB league. Pamesa Valencia agreed on a one-year contract with the veteran forward for 2004-05, his sixth pro season since leaving North Carolina.

Okulaja was presented to the media in Valencia, Spain last week, where he stated his intention was to "play hard, defend well and do whatever else is requested of him to help the team," according to acb.com's report on the event. A team spokesperson noted that Okulaja would be expected to be a three-point shooter, play power forward and also play small forward to create mismatches for the opposition and be a perimeter defender.

Okulaja will join his new team's training camp after September 25 since he will be involved with qualification games for Eurobasket 2005 until then with the German national team.

Germany visits Ukraine on Wednesday and hosts Hungary on Saturday. Next week the opponents will be Belgium (Sept. 15) and Ukraine (Sept. 18), followed by trips to Hungary (Sept. 22) and Belgium (Sept. 25).


* Former Tar Heel and current NBA free agent Shammond Williams will also be involved in the qualifying round for the 2005 European Championship field this month.

Williams is a member of the national team of the Republic of Georgia, formerly part of the Soviet Union. Georgia is scheduled to meet Finland, featuring Utah's Hanno Mottola (Saturday), Macedonia, featuring South Carolina's Ryan Stack (Sept. 15) and Luxembourg, featuring Georgia Tech's Alvin Jones (Sept. 18).

In addition to Williams, the Georgian national team roster includes NBA players Zaza Pachulia (Milwaukee), Nikoloz Tskitishvili (Denver), Vladimir Stepania (Portland) and Viktor Sanikidze (Atlanta, '04 2nd round draft pick).


* Ed Cota is in preseason camp in Bormio, Italy with his new team Dynamo St. Petersburg, an expansion team of the Russian Superleague.

In their first game on Sunday, Dynamo St. Petersburg downed Italian division-two team Montecatini 84-76. Cota is on a personal training program and did not play, but is expected to be available soon, according to eurobasket.com.


* The Phoenix Suns are in the process of signing free agent center Scott Williams, according to a report last week by the East Valley Tribune. Suns' president Bryan Colangelo told the Tribune, "I think he was a good influence on the team. If it works out and he signs, it will be a good addition."

Williams was with Phoenix last season until January before getting his release to go to the Dallas Mavericks. Williams was under consideration as an assistant coach before leaving Phoenix, but decided to complete his fourteenth NBA season with a playoff-run in Dallas.

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