Sports

Marvin ready for prime time

Marvin Williams proved he could do it all during his time at Bremerton and accentuated his skill with a national title at the University of North Carolina. The Atlanta Hawks agreed, taking Williams second overall in the NBA draft on June 28. - Jesse Beals/file photo
Marvin Williams proved he could do it all during his time at Bremerton and accentuated his skill with a national title at the University of North Carolina. The Atlanta Hawks agreed, taking Williams second overall in the NBA draft on June 28.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/file photo

Marvin Williams did it all for Bremerton High School. He took his skills a step farther by helping take the University of North Carolina to the NCAA Championships as a freshman.

Now, Williams will try to help turn around an NBA franchise that won a league-low 13 games last season.

On Tuesday, the Atlanta Hawks made Williams the highest state player ever taken in the NBA draft, selecting the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year second overall.

And according to Williams’ agent, Jim Tanner, he “couldn’t be happier.”

“It’s a complete understatement,” Tanner said. “Marvin is really excited about Atlanta. He couldn’t be happier. Marvin, his comment to me was, ‘Wherever it takes me, I’ll do my best to make an impact on that team.’ Regardless of where he was selected, that was his mindset.”

Williams, who average more than 28 points and 15 rebounds his senior year at Bremerton, was part of a group of four Tar Heels to be selected in the first 14 picks in the draft. Utah’s Andrew Bogut was taken first overall.

Williams himself said that he is looking forward to the start of his NBA career in a chat room on ESPN’s Web site shortly after being drafted.

“I’m very excited to be in Atlanta,” Williams wrote. “I’m a young guy and I’ll try to go down there and turn the program around.”

A no-brainer for Tanner to pursue, the agent with prestigious firm Williams & Connolly said it was Williams’ character that made him mostattractive.

“One of the things about us is we try to go after great players,” Tanner said. “We want them to go high at the draft, but not at that expense.”

Tanner was a 1990 graduate of UNC and also represents the Hawks’ Josh Childress. He said with the talent Atlanta has been stockpiling, there’s no reason Williams can’t help accelerate the Hawks turn around.

“Atlanta is an up and coming franchise,” Tanner said. “I have complete faith in their management. (General manager) Billy Knight and (Vice President of Basketball Operations) Chris Grant are among the best. And they have a great coaching staff. They have a lot of young, high-character players.”

And while Williams is known for his gentlemanly demeanor off the court, he said that he will have no problem staying competitive on it.

“(Critics) can judge me however they want to judge,” Williams wrote. “I’m a nice guy off the court. I don’t think that will hurt me in the NBA at all. I’m a different guy between the lines.”

Critics have also raised concerns about Williams going from a small town background into a large city like Atlanta. But Tanner said that adjustment should come easy as well.

“I think he’ll be fine,” Tanner said. “A lot of things about Atlanta, it’s a big city, but it has that small-town, Southern feel.”

Tanner said in the coming weeks, he hopes to have Marvin’s contract finalized with the Hawks. He added that Marvin will be competing this summer in Utah as part of the Hawks summer team.

“The hard part is over,” Tanner said. “The next step is to finalize his contract. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Now that there’s no lockout, he can get acquainted to being around the league and other players.”

Hawks coach Mike Woodson said he looks forward to adding Marvin to his young core.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to coach another talented, young player,” Woodson said. “I thought Marvin really separated himself from the pack during our pre-draft workouts. His upside is huge and we’re very happy top have him in an Atlanta Hawks uniform. There’s still room for him to grow, but I think the sky is the limit.”

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