SHAMMOND ANSWERS THE MAIL
* Former Tar Heel star Shammond Williams, playing this season in Russia, recently spent some time answering questions sent to him via his team's website. His team is called UNICS (University of Culture and Sports) and is located in Kazan, the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, which is part of the Russian Federation. The information on the team's website (www.unics.ru) was posted in Russian. The following is not a verbatim transcript, but a general translation of that content:
>>> Shammond Williams enjoys large popularity among the fans of UNICS Kazan. Therefore, it is no wonder that there were many questions from his admirers. Today we acquaint you with the more interesting of them ...
About being familiar with Michael Jordan: "Yes, we attended the same college. As an older friend Michael helped me with my basketball skills and taught me how to handle success."
About improving his game: "Depends on what my coach asks. I can use my shooting ability or be more involved running the offense. Better that I get five points and we win rather than get 30 and we lose."
On the Russian language: "The Russian language is complex. I have learned some words and expressions. I have then forgotten them (he laughs). I understand more words than I can speak. Each day I check my Russian dictionary to increase my vocabulary."
On the team's president (Yevgeny Bogachev): "He's a great person. A man of his word that keeps his promises."
About his coach (Stanislav Eremine): "We understand basketball differently, but have the the same objective. It might seem from the side that I argue with him and express disagreement, but that is not so. I tell him my ideas during games and then await his strategy and attempt to perform his instructions."
On friends on the team: "I'm friendly with everyone, but closer to Ira Clark (Texas) and Kaspars Kambala (UNLV via Latvia). We speak the same language and have billiards and bowling as common interests."
About after playing basketball: "Maybe become a coach or an agent."
On problems living in Kazan: "No problems. Everything is normal."
About his favorite place in Kazan: "The Kazan Kremlin, there is nothing like it in America. I've been there many times and always find something new, interesting. You can feel the spirit of the ancient history of Kazan. A picture of the Kazan Kremlin will hang in my bedroom."
[Note - The Kazan Kremlin is an architectural ensemble representing buildings over many centuries.]
About being an African-American in Kazan: "Sometimes I feel I'm being stared at, but I don't know the reason. Could be they recognize Shammond Williams the player for UNICS or because I have a different skin color than they do. Since there are many African students in Kazan, I doubt they are shocked by the skin color. I don't feel any hostility."
About other sports he enjoys: "American football. But now I like to watch European football (soccer). I never thought similar action could be created using the feet. It is an interesting game."
On what he misses most from back home: "My family -- father, mother, great grandmother, 14 brothers and sisters. Yes, 14 (the number was repeated when he noticed the translator's amazement)! Family is everything to me, I miss them a lot, but I'm here to work."<<<<<<<<<
Meanwhile back on the basketball court ... Williams will not be going to FIBA's Europe League Final Four and a meeting with Ed Cota, after UNICS Kazan lost last week to BC Khimki (Russia), 98-80, in Moscow. Williams was limited to 15 points in the third game of the best-of-three series after scoring 29 and 35. With 15 games played, Williams ends the FEL competition as the third-best scorer at 21.1 ppg and is fifth in assists with 5.5 pg. BC Khimki (14-7, 4th-place) will play Cota's Dynamo St. Petersburg (12-9, 5th-place) Russian Superleague team on April 27.
Back in the Russian Superleague on Sunday, UNICS improved to 15-6 (3rd-place with three games left) as Williams tallied 19 points (4-6 three-pt. FG) and 10 assists in a 109-96 victory.
- March 29: Jackie Manuel (22)
- March 29: Dennis Wuycik (55)
- March 31: J.R. Reid (37)
- March 31: Jonathan Holmes (25)
- April 1: Warren Martin (42)
- April 1: Jerod Haase [asst. coach] (31)
- April 2: Randy Wiel (54)
- April 2: Mike Ellis (38)
- April 4: Larry Miller (59)
- April 4: Sean May (21)
- April 5: Shammond Williams (30)
- April 7: Jim Everett (26)
- April 7: Reyshawn Terry (21)
Look for the rest of April's birthdays next week.