The Miles Basketball Minute: Richard Williams Has The Heart And Dedication To Help Pull The Fraport Skyliners Out Of The BBL Cellar

It was a little more than six months ago where SC Rasta Vechta had suffered another one of their typical crunch time loses at home to the Fraport Skyliners where one was wondering who had infected whom that season as the 2004 Beko BBL champion Frankfurt also had lost their fair share of close games where one could of thought hmmmmmmmm does the basketball God have his fingers in this rude and cruel ritual for both teams? SC Rasta Vechta had lost a handful of buzzer beaters last season which ultimately paved their ticket back to the German Pro A. After the 76-75 buzzer beater loss to the Fraport Skyliners, California native Richard Williams was sitting in their V.I.P room munching on some dinner and it was apparent that he was only eating for a sake of being there and fulfilling the obligatory post game dinner with the team. Despite a solid 18 point game where he hit four three pointers and some timely ones at the end, one could of read his mind and sad face that he hadn´t been content on only setting up his teammates twice. He looked as sad as an eight year old kid who had walked out of Jack Murphy stadium back in the 80´s and been denied an autograph from his hero Tony Gwynn. You can go down the list in the Beko BBL with guys that would leave their jersey on the floor, but not many that would also add their shorts for a win. Williams is one of those players that wants to win as badly as Bamberg legend Casey Jacobsen did as these two guys belong to the top list of most professional players in the league. As the point guard, it wasn´t hard to understood that he took most of the blame last season for the woes of SC Rasta Vechta. He had promised me in an earlier interview that he would make sure that SC Rasta Vechta wouldn´t move down, a bold prediction that just shows how much responsibility was actually on his shoulders and what he was willing to sacrifice for. However Williams is the last to admit that it wasn´t his fault as it had to do more on a lack of execution and experience during crunch time that had to do with the whole team and not Wiilliams. In an age where the social media is the number one spot for self promotion and for many professional basketball players an outlet to escape the boredom of long hours in a lonely apartment, Williams took a break from the social media in the second half of the season to concentrate even more on basketball something the majority players wouldn´t have done.

Williams has had a surge in his career as he has had to build himself up from season to season as after getting a taste of professional basketball in the American ABA with San Diego and Iceland he came to Germany and started in the German PRO B with UBC Hannover Tigers (Germany-ProB) playing 33 games: 18.3ppg, 5.1rpg, Assists-4(5.7apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 75.8%. There he showed that he was a lot better than that level which SC Rasta Vechta head coach Pat Elzie recognized right away and brought him to Vechta where Williams played  38 games averaging15.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-1(6.7apg), Steals-1(2.5spg), FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 79.9%. He led the German Pro A in assists and apparently was already on the radar of Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert, but the two sides couldn´t come together to agree on a contract for the 2013-2104 This Beko BBL season. Williams decided to stay in Vechta and show the German basketball world that he has the talent to play week for week against the best like Jared Jordan, Malcolm Delaney and Clifford Hammonds and did just that as he had a very solid season and besides the last place finish was one of top five best point guards in the Beko BBL. He had no problems making the adjustment from the German Pro B to the Pro A and Beko BBL. In the Beko BBL, Williams led his team in scoring assists, steals and was second in rebounds. He averaged 14,6ppg, 4,7rpg, 4,4apg and 1,9spg. He was the most consistent player on the team scoring in double figures 30 times including 22 point games against ratiopharm Ulm and Wurzburg. All in all it was learning experience for Williams and at the same time very humbling. Of course he came into last season with no real pressure since no one expected much from SC Rasta Vechta which allowed him to focus on basketball. Williams is also very thankful for head coach Pat Elzie that despite his sprouting self confidence, there were times where he had doubts in his game, but Elzie never let Williams doubt his talent and always had faith in him.

Williams now is playing for the Fraport Skyliners to a team that has a very special reputation in the Beko BBL for years for developing young German players and is looking to get back to the playoffs after missing them for three straight years. Good point guards are as common on the market as are Lionel Messi type talented players in Argentina just waiting to be discovered, but great point guards are rare. However Frankfurt has always been known for a grooming ground of strong point guards as the list goes on and on with Pascal Roller, Aubrey Reese or Dashaun Wood. Herbert thinks very highly of the San Diego native and he especially likes his character, one thing that is always important for building a harmonious and successful team. Williams is a scoring point guard, but what makes him so valuable is that even when he has an off night in the scoring department, he then decides to get his team even more involved. Ex Skyliner Dashaun Wood who was banging out Monta Ellis type stats in Frankfurt always commented that when his shot wasn´t falling, he would concentrate extra on finding his teammates. However Williams does even more than that. Even when his penetration helps him find the holes and easy buckets and outside shot is falling very well, he still finds his teammates equally well which makes him that all around potent scoring point guard. Scoring and finding and making his teammates better is equally as important to the gregarious American who can smile with the best of them. His 19 point 13 assists effort in a bitter 102-101 OT loss against Artland attest to that. Besides his role model positive character, the last straw that helped him get his new meal ticket in Frankfurt is his annoying defense where one could almost call him the lost brother of ex Fraport Skyliner Devin Gibson. Gibson amazed the fans three years ago with his quick Edward Scissor-hands , but Williams brings this to another dimension as he has lightening quick hands that will make the Frankfurt defense maybe one of the best this season with Quantez Robertson and Richard Williams giving opposing teams added splitting headaches. Not only defense will help these two Americans build a strong combination, but also on the fast break and bring their special added twist to NBA showtime to the Fraport Skyliners. Robertson who had to tip his hat last season often to German future national player Danilo Barthel for spectacular ally op dunks will have some healthy competition this season with Super Tez for who will have the most ally-op dunks especially when you have a guy like Williams feeding them with perfect ally-op passes. It will be an interesting season for the Fraport Skyliners. Williams is the perfect fit to the team as like the big German three of Barthel, Voigtmann and Klein, they are not only young, but very very hungry for success. His good character and play will be an enrichment to the Fraport Skyliners. Williams has shown in every level in Germany that he belongs to the top players there and he is keen on continuing to make the next step. With the combination and support of the training staff and dedicated Teammates, then there is no reason why Williams couldn´t have a type of season that a Roller, Reese or Wood had in the past in Frankfurt. Frankfurt added the last two pieces to their puzzle with Americans Mike Morrison and Sean Armand. These are two players that Williams will be setting up all night long and feeding them balls like a baby getting its daily nourishment of the bottle. It especially would have been fun to see Williams and ex NBA player Andrew Rautins harmonize, but with Sean Armand, Frankfurt has a typical pure sharpshooter like Rautins and it will be interesting to see how Williams and he function as the season progresses. Even if the kick outs get old after a while for the opponent, Williams has enough ability in his passing creativity to make the three point line anywhere on the court for Armand and into his own private grazing place as if he was back home in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Williams also will have Finish Mikko Koivisto to get the ball to who shot over 40% last season from the parking lot in Finland and Turkey. I came into the current season predicting a playoff appearance for the Fraport Skyliners and so far the team has underachieved as it is in 17th place with a record of 1-6. Frankfurt has always had to deal with injuries in the last 10 years that at times it seemed like it gave ex coach Murat Didin such stomach problems that not even the Doner was on his lunch wish list. Currently the club have bumps and bruises for guys like Mike Morrision, Mikko Koivisto and Konstantin Klein as the roster is very much smaller. Williams also hasn´t performed up to par, but he hasn´t been fit from the start and still plays showing his unending will to want to help the club no matter how severe the physical pain might be. In the Beko BBL, he is currently averaging only 8,1ppg, 1,6rpg and 3,4apg, but is shooting a very strong 47,6 from the parking lot. He seems to be coming out of his funk a bit scoring 20 points against Artland. His warning of having that undying motivation every summer wanting to be the best as no one stays the same, either you get better or you get worse and spend his summer getting better and working to be the best still stands. It may not have happened yet, but knowing Williams he will be working even harder so that fans will see an even better Richard Williams as the seasons moves on and possibly witness the Richie and Tez show combining business and amusement on the court as NBA Showtime as amusement and getting out of the Beko BBL cellar as business.

 

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