Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

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


* Rick Fox, a 13-year veteran and three-time NBA champion, announced last week that his NBA playing career was over. Fox put in a summer rehab effort for foot, thumb and back injuries that have hampered him the past two seasons, but did not get the full recovery he was looking for and will not be reporting this week to the training camp of the Boston Celtics, the team he was traded to in August after seven years with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Fox spent the first six years of his career in Boston (1991-1997). He was the Celtics' No. 1 pick in the 1991 draft (24th overall) after starring at North Carolina. Fox averaged 8.0 ppg in 81 games as a rookie and was placed on the NBA's All-Rookie second-team.

"He was a regular right through 1996-97, playing unselfish, complementary basketball, just the way Dean Smith taught him," according to the Boston Globe last week. "When Chris Ford, his first coach in Boston, suggested that Fox was lacking defensive skills, Smith shot back that Fox knew how to play defense, the NBA be damned. What Ford subsequently learned is that Fox suffered from attention deficit disorder."

The Boston Herald reported last week that Fox reached a settlement with Boston on the final year of his $ 5.1 million contract and would be paid $4.8 million. Fox is expected to stay in Los Angeles and continue working on his acting career that began during his time with the Lakers from 1997 to 2004.


* Instead of trying to make an NBA team as a deep sub, Shammond Williams has decided to play the 2004-05 season, his seventh as a pro, in Russia. UNICS Kazan, of the Russian Superleague A, announced the signing of Williams to a one-year contract last week.

Williams played 53 games in the NBA last season, 37 with Orlando and 16 with New Orleans, averaging 4.8 points and 2.2 assists in 14.4 minutes bringing his NBA totals to 295 games, 17 mpg, 2.5 apg and 6.1 ppg over six years with six teams. NBA assistant director of scouting Ryan Blake was recently asked why a player would leave an NBA opportunity for a job in Europe. Blake came up with plenty of answers. "Money, security, knowng you will get that job, have playing time. If a team likes you and you play well, you can be treated royally over there. Over the long term, it can be better," he told USA TODAY's International Basketball Notebook.

Former Tar Heel star Ed Cota is also with a team in Russia's Superleague A. Cota plays for Dynamo St. Petersburg and is scheduled to meet UNICS Kazan on November 6.


* The Dallas Mavericks made Hubert Davis a player-development coach last week, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"Hubert is going to be an exciting addition to our player-development staff," said Dallas president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.

Davis, 34, played for the Mavs from 1997 to 2001 and is regarded as one the best shooters in franchise history. His 45.4 percent three-point shooting accuracy is a team record.

During 2003-04 Davis played in 17 games between Detroit (3) and New Jersey (14). The former Tar Heel played 685 games over 12 seasons, averaged 8.2 points per game and made 44.1 percent of his three-point shots.

* Scott Williams, 36, has signed on with Cleveland for what will be his 15th season in the NBA. Williams is on a one-year deal at around $1.6 million. Training camp starts this week in Columbus, Ohio.

"He brings us some experience and a positive attitude," Cleveland GM Jim Paxson told the Akron Beacon Journal. "He's going to show up to play everday, but he's also going to work with our young guys."

"I feel good, my body feels young and I've got live legs," said Williams. "I know I can still contribute at a high level."


* Former Tar Heel Jonathan Holmes checked in with Inside Carolina last week with news about his season-opener in Denmark. Holmes scored 17 and dished five assists as his team, Horsens IC (no relation), secured an 81-77 win on the road. "We led by as many as 13 in the second half, but were forced to hold on for the four-point win," Holmes told IC via e-mail. "I made two free throws with 12 seconds remaining to put us up by three."

Holmes also informed IC that he had a lot of fun over the summer working Coach Williams' basketball camp, as well as the camps of Eric Montross and Hubert Davis, and seeing former and current players. "It was such a great atmosphere and something to look forward to each summer," Holmes said. "I miss the Triangle area and all my friends back there."

* With pro basketball getting started over the weekend in Europe, Dante Calabria and Ademola Okulaja also got off to wins in new surroundings.

Calabria, with Armani Jeans Milano in Italy, did what he does best in Sunday's 94-73 opening game victory. Calabria sank four three-pointers in six tries as he logged 14 points and three rebounds in 22 minutes.

Okulaja opened the Spanish League season with his new squad, Pamesa Valencia, and scored 17 points and took in nine boards on the way to a 92-88 overtime win.


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