Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

This week's update on former Tar Heel hoopsters ... Pictured -- Ed Cota.


* Former Tar Heel forward Jawad Williams was among five players signed last week by the world champion San Antonio Spurs. Clemson's Sharrod Ford was included in that group.

Williams ('05) averaged 13.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 37 games for the 2005 National Championship Tar Heels. With the Golden State Warriors in the Vegas Summer League he averaged 6.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in five games.

The Spurs will hold training camp at the University of the Virgin Islands at the St. Thomas campus. The first practice is slated for tomorrow.

Here's a look at the Spurs preseason schedule:
Oct 10: at Miami (Hurricane Katrina Relief Game)
Oct 12: vs. Philadelphia at Columbia, S.C.
Oct 13: vs. Washington at Winston-Salem, N.C.
Oct 15: vs. Houston at San Antonio
Oct 18: at Indiana
Oct 20: vs. New Orleans/Oklahoma City at Bossier City, La.
Oct 22: vs. New York at San Antonio
Oct 25: vs. Indiana at San Antonio
Oct 27: vs. Philadelphia at San Antonio

* Jason Capel was among four free agents added to the Charlotte Bobcats training camp roster last week. Capel will join Raymond Felton and Sean May in Wilmington, N.C., tomorrow when the Bobcats begin training camp.

Charlotte's preseason schedule opens on October 12 against Atlanta and Marvin Williams in Birmingham, Ala.


* Former Tar Heel star Ed Cota arrived in Kaunas, Lithuania last week to begin his sixth pro season, his third with the traditional powerhouse of Lithuanian basketball – Zalgiris Kaunas. Zalgiris has Lithuanian basketball legend Arvydas Sabonis as a part-owner.

According to an interview posted at the club's official website, Cota is in good health and ready to start training and playing games. He explained that since his contract with Dynamo Saint Petersburg, the Russian team he played for last season, was canceled he did not want to miss a chance to play for Zalgiris again.

What did he miss about Kaunas, Lithuania? "Many friends, the fans, playing in Euroleague, success, victories. It feels like home, it's crazy, right?" Cota responded with a laugh.

Cota said he knows his new teammate Reggie Freeman (Texas) very well. They are both from New York. He described Freeman as a very good player, a good shooter that can play three positions.

When asked which was better, to play in Russia for Saint Petersburg or in Lithuania for Zalgiris, Cota opted for Zalgiris. "Better relations with the people here and the winters are colder in Russia (laughs)," Cota quipped.

Asta Barkute served as the translator for this article.


* Inside Carolina has learned that UNC graduate L.J. Hepp ('01), 27, has left the Stanford basketball program for a position at Tulsa under former North Carolina assistant (2000-2003) Doug Wojcik.

Hepp served as a graduate assistant in the North Carolina basketball program for two years before becoming the video coordinator at Stanford in 2003-04. He was promoted to assistant coach at Stanford before last season.

Wojcik, 41, was hired as the Tulsa head coach in March 2005.


* The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported last week that former Tar Heel and former Cleveland Cavalier Scott Williams was hired by Fox Sports Network Ohio to provide color commentary for 40 Cleveland Cavalier games this season.

While working his first broadcasting job as an NBA analyst for FSN Ohio, Williams will get to keep tabs on Cavs' superstar LeBron James. Cleveland has been missing from the NBA playoffs since 1998 and James is looking to end that streak.

"There shouldn't be any more excuses," James told the Plain Dealer. "Because on paper, we have one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, if not in the NBA. I'm a veteran now, and I'm more of leader and I know what it takes. We have a great veteran team in Z [Zydrunas Ilgauskas], in Larry [Hughes], in Eric [Snow] and Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall. We have a veteran team now, so we should know what it takes."

Featuring LeBron James, the Cavaliers will appear on national television 32 times during the season with games on ABC (5), ESPN (10), NBA TV (9) and TNT (8).


* The Macon Telegraph ran a story back in June that reported that former Tar Heel Michael Brooker ('01) had returned to his native Georgia to become the girl's basketball coach at his alma mater, Brentwood High School (Sandersville, Ga.).

Brooker scored 2,501 points during his Brentwood High School career (1992-96). As a senior, the 6-5 guard made 87 straight foul shots, the second longest streak in the nation at that time. He averaged 34 points and 11 rebounds per game during his senior season.

The story also noted that Brooker, 27, had been coaching high school basketball teams in North Carolina on and off since leaving UNC.

"Coming back to my hometown, I didn't envision it. It's a neat opportunity to come back and coach where I played, but it's a funny transition after being gone so long," Brooker told the Telegraph in June.


* Former Tar Heel Makhtar Ndiaye has signed for the 2005-06 season with Adecco ASVEL Lyon-Villerbaunne of the French Pro A League. Florida State's Tim Pickett is also on the Lyon-Villeurbanne basketball club.

Ndiaye ('98), a native of Senegal, will be playing his eighth season of professional basketball.


* Brendan Haywood spent some time last week taking part in a chat session at nba.com.

Carly from Arlington asked, "Hey Brendan, I'm definitely a big Wizards fan and a big B. Hay fan. I've noticed that over the past couple of seasons you've made a lot of improvement. What specifically have you been working on this offseason?" Haywood replied, "Specifically this offseason I've been working on my free-throw shooting and the development of my left hand."

Haywood was also asked about his goals for this season, guarding Yao Ming, future plans and to name his all-time team.

Go to nba.com for the full chat transcript.


  •  1: Mick Mixon (47)

  •  2: Coretta Brown (25)

  •  3: Rich Yonakor (47), LaShonda Allen (26), LaQuanda [Barksdale] Quick (26) and Justin Bohlander (21)

  •  5: Jeff Lebo (40)

  •  6: Tommy Kearns (69) and Larry Davis (32)

  •  8: Doug Elstun (37)

  • 12: Marion Jones (30)

  • 18: Will Johnson (25)

  • 19: Brad Daugherty (40)

  • 24: Jeff McInnis (31)

  • 27: Pearce Landry (33)

  • 28: Michael Brooker (28)

  • 29: Steve Robinson [asst. coach] (48) and Wayne Ellington (18)

  • 30: Ben Carnevale (90)

  • 31: Clifford Rozier (33) and Bobby Frasor (19)

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