Deron Williams on European Hoops: ‘This is Definitely Different’

Deron Williams remains the biggest NBA star playing overseas at the moment, and after recently struggling in a game that eliminated his Besiktas squad from a tournament in Belgium, he tells SLAM’s Jake Appleman about the differences in European basketball. From the NY Times: “Deron Williams, the Nets’ point guard, was here Tuesday night with his teammates on Besiktas Milangaz, a professional team from Istanbul playing a game in the Eurocup, a second-tier intercontinental competition. Perhaps Williams wished he had been back at the negotiating table. In a 74-63 loss to host Dexia Mons-Hainaut, he finished with 7 points, 7 assists and 6 turnovers. He shot 3 of 13 from the floor. The loss eliminated Besiktas from the tournament. ‘Didn’t give my team much of a chance,’ he said. … There was Williams in the tiny Mons Arena — seating capacity, about 3,500 — donning a sleek black uniform, white headband and bright red Nikes, staring down screaming fans. The crowd, and the opponents on the floor, were unimpressed with his All-Star status. He was roughed up by Mons-Hainaut. In the first half, after some physical play, Williams had words with Sean Singletary, a former standout at the University of Virginia, and picked up a technical foul. Midway through the second quarter, Justin Cage, who played at Xavier, barreled over Williams. Later, Williams missed three straight free throws — one negated by a lane violation — with the home crowd at full throat. He was knocked down attempting a 3-pointer near the end of the half. Asked if he was still adjusting to the European game, Williams said: ‘I mean, I’ve played in a lot of European basketball. I’ve played in the Olympics. But this is definitely different. The way the reffing has been going has been different for me, but I’ve got to adjust.'”