Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Top Cardinal easily could have been a Cat

Citizen Staff Writer



INDIANAPOLIS – Louisville’s best player could have been an Arizona Wildcat.

The Arizona coaches had to make a decision about five years ago. Did they want to more strongly pursue Mario Chalmers from Alaska or Terrence Williams from Seattle?

“We had (point guard) Mustafa Shakur at the time,” former UA assistant Rodney Tention said Thursday. “And the decision was, who do we bring in to play next to Mustafa?”

Arizona went full on after Chalmers. He signed with Kansas.

“Lute Olson really wanted Mario Chalmers, and when Chalmers committed to Kansas, they told me they really wanted me,” Williams said Thursday in the Louisville locker room before practice.

“I was like, ‘Nah, I’m not like a second-tier player. So I committed to Louisville. My whole thing with Lute Olson was that I didn’t know how much longer he was going to coach there.

“I didn’t want to go there and have him leave the next year. But it was very serious between Arizona and here.”

Tention said it never got to the point where Arizona offered a scholarship to Williams, but the Wildcats did land the Seattle player who was like a brother to Terrence – forward Marcus Williams, a friend from middle-school days.

Terrence lived with Marcus and his mother, Gayle, at times in high school.

“I don’t know how they could be more like brothers than they are,” Gayle said in a 2006 interview with the Citizen. “There was always a connection there. I feel the same way. I feel Terrence is my son as well.”

Marcus spent two seasons at Arizona before being a second-round pick in the 2007 NBA draft. He is playing for the Austin (Texas) Toros of the NBA Development League. Through a team spokesman, Marcus “respectfully declined” an interview request this week.

Marcus told the Citizen in 2006 he talked to Terrence every day.

“We see how it’s going and how we’re doing. I tell him I love him and good night. I always let him know I love him.”

They still talk every day, Terrence said, and have discussed the Arizona-Louisville matchup in Friday’s Sweet 16.

“I can’t say on camera to you guys what he said about Arizona,” Terrence said.

Few players in the country are like Terrence Williams, a do-it-all 6-foot-6 senior wing who averages 12.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and a team-high 5.0 assists. He has improved his outside shot, hitting 38.4 percent on 3-pointers this season.

“He was kind of the way he is now; he’s just a lot better at it,” Tention said, remembering Williams at Rainier Beach High School.

“He wasn’t a real good outside shooter, but he could get to the basket any time he wanted. He was a point forward, that’s what he was.”

Still is.

“The guy is a great player,” said UA sophomore Jamelle Horne. “I don’t think we have had a matchup like him.”

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service