Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

This week's update on former Tar Heel hoopsters: NBA Summer League roundup; Los Angeles welcomes Shammond Williams; Forte signs on with Italian team; Rice ready to hit recruiting trail; Fox returns to the big screen ...


* ... The Orlando Pro Summer League wrapped on Friday with Charlotte's Sean May being among the top players just as he was at the Rocky Mountain Revue in Utah last year as a rookie. However, May was reduced to playing just 15 minutes in the fifth and final game due to a left ankle injury.

At his "May's Days In Orlando" daily blog at the team's official web site, the former Tar Heel star informed readers that his sprained ankle was feeling much better. "It's a little sore, but it didn't swell up too much, so hopefully it's just a little ankle sprain and will be alright in a couple of days," May reported.

May also noted that he was on his way back to Charlotte to find a house, then he would be off to Las Vegas with teammate Raymond Felton to attend Tim Grgurich's basketball camp for two weeks.

Then a return to Chapel Hill to finish up work toward getting his degree. He also has plans to be at the World's Greatest Alumni Game on August 26, although he hasn't decided whether he will be playing in the game.

May had per game averages of 26 minutes, 18.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.4 blocks and 2.8 turnovers in five games in Orlando. He shot 50 percent from the field (31-62), 45.5 percent from the hree-point area (5-11) and 78.8 percent at the charity stripe (26-33).

* ... Raymond Felton wasn't on the original summer roster, but attended mini-camp, went with the Bobcats to Orlando and played 18 minutes in the first game against Miami. Felton scored nine points and handed out four assists and did not play in any other games.

* ... Jackie Manuel was back on the court again and running with the Bulls (of Chicago) in Orlando. Manuel played five games and appeared to be very active in 14.3 mpg with 4.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.6 turnovers while shooting 7-15 from the field (.467) and 8-11 (.727) on free throws.

* ... In his bid to be noticed by the NBA at the Vegas Summer League, Jawad Williams played in five games for the Los Angeles Clippers. Williams playing time ranged from eight to 16 minutes as he finished with 12.4 mpg, 7.6 ppg (14-28 FG, 6-10 3-pt. FG, 4-5 FT), 2.0 rpg, one assist and two steals.

* ... The Milwaukee Bucks did not have a summer team available for second-round pick David Noel to play for. Instead, they sent Noel to Long Beach to play for a team put together by the Dallas Mavericks at the Summer Pro League in southern California. Noel closed things out Saturday on a high note with 26 points (12-19 FG), eight boards and seven assists, his best game of a five-game run. Noel averaged 10 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 apg and 28 mpg.

* ... Byron Sanders was also at the SPL in Long Beach. Sanders, with the Lakers summer entry there, had his best game last Wednesday when he played 20 minutes with six points (3-9 FG), six boards and two blocks. The Lakers still have two games to play (Tuesday vs. Wash. and Wednesday vs. Memphis) in Long Beach.

* ... Marvin Williams has had a couple of productive and physical games for the Atlanta Hawks in Utah at the Rocky Mountain Revue. Williams tallied 22 points on 4-9 FG and 14-18 FT with four rebounds and three assists in the opener on Friday versus Utah.

There was an altercation with Rafael Araujo of Utah in that game. Araujo was charged with a second flagrant foul in the third quarter that got him ejected. Williams was hit with a technical foul in the ensuing moments, according to the nba.com game recap.

During the Hawks' second game on Saturday, Williams was the object of some lingering boos from the pro-Utah crowd whenever he touched the ball, a carryover from the incident with the Jazz's Araujo the day before. Williams was not distracted though as he tossed in 30 points, grabbed 10 boards for a double-double and also contributed five assists.

The Hawks still have three games to go at the Revue in Salt Lake City including a rematch with Utah and Araujo on Thursday.

Check the IC front page for "Heels in NBA Summer League Update" or use this link for the latest game stats on the Tar Heels playing NBA summer hoops.


* ... After a couple of years away, far away, from the NBA, Shammond Williams will return to The League in 2006 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Williams first team in Europe was the Russian Superleague club UNICS Kazan. Last season he moved to Spain with FC Barcelona, a team that reached the Euroleague Final Four.

"My choice to go to Europe was my decision," Williams said at his press conference. "It wasn't like I couldn't have gotten an NBA job. It's not like I didn't have any offers. I was at a point in my career where I played for a few teams, and I never had the opportunity to challenge myself as a basketball player."

"There were times where I didn't play [in the NBA]. I think there comes a time in your career where you want to see where you are. Being in different situations, and not being given the opportunity to be what you want to be or become, it can sort of take the love of the game away from you."

Williams, 31, has a one-year, $1.75-million contract with the Lakers, according to the Daily News.

While playing overseas, Williams averaged over five assists per game with both of his European clubs, something Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak noticed.

"Mitch made the statement, 'I think that you look to involve your teammates a little more than you once did,'" Williams added.


* ... Shortly after the Miami Heat released Joe Forte just prior to starting summer-league play in Orlando, last week, it was announced by Serie A Italian basketball club Montepaschi Siena that they had agreed to terms with Forte, the former North Carolina star, for the 2006-07 season.

Forte's teammate and backcourt-mate in Siena, Italy, will be Terrell McIntyre of Clemson. Forte spent last season in Greece where he averaged 17.9 points per game and shot 42.7 percent on three-point attempts.

Forte did play a summer-league game in Long Beach though on Saturday for the Memphis Grizzlies. Forte played 22 minutes for the Grizz and scored five points with four boards, two assists and on steal.


* ... King Rice is not only a new assistant coach at Vanderbilt, he is also the school's lead basketball recruiter, according to an article recently posted by nashvillecitypaper.com.

From now to the start of the 2007-08 season Vandy will have six scholarships available, the article notes. Rice is very busy right now attending camps and scouting prospects to bolster a depleted Vanderbilt basketball squad.

Rice finds his recruiting assignment to be a challenge but is not feeling overwhelmed. As a former standout point guard that opted for North Carolina when he was a prep star in Binghamton, New York, Rice knows a lot about the recruiting game.

"College coaches, a lot of times, make promises they shouldn't make," Rice told The City Paper. "That was something I learned very early."

"Being honest is the most important thing. Don't try to tell them things just to make them feel good. You want to tell them just exactly how it's going to be so there are no surprises when they get to school."

In addition to keeping things simple and being honest, Rice puts an emphasis on academics when recruiting. "People try to use that against us a lot, and that's just funny to me, because when people use our academics against us, they're basically saying they're not an academic institution," said Rice. "Why would you want to go there if you're not going to get an education?"

"We have a good product. I feel like Coach [Kevin] Stallings is one of the best coaches in the league, and we're obviously the best academic school in the SEC. Those are very positive things."


* ... The movie "Mini's First Time" opened last week with a very limited release (two theatres in New York City and five in the Los Angeles area) and puts Rick Fox back on the big screen.

Fox plays Fabrizio, a masseuse, in the L.A.-based comedy/drama with an 'R' rating that also stars Alec Baldwin, Nikki Reed, Luke Wilson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Jeff Goldblum.

Reel.com described the casting of Fox as "a really inspired choice" and recently asked the movies writer-director Nick Guthe how he ended up casting Fox in that role.

"Originally, Rick was interested in playing Garson, the detective, which eventually went to Luke Wilson. At 6-7, Rick looks too intimidating to play someone as passive as Garson, so I suggested he play the masseuse instead. He was all for it," Guthe replied.

"Rick was terrific. I really had no idea how funny he was. He was very creative, too. It was his idea to put those tattoos on his arms. He even slept in the actual hotel suite we were using the night before he shot his scene, to feel comfortable in what was supposed to be Fabrizio's 'massage' space."

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