Former Arizona Wildcats forward Marcus Williams made history in China, and not in a good sort of way.
Williams tested positive for marijuana, and it's the first doping case in the Chinese Basketball Association -- ever. According to this story, Williams is the first player to get busted for pot (steroids, drugs, etc.) in the league's 17-year history.
The Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons' forward will be suspended for a whole six months and will miss a season that began in late November and ends Feb. 17. As SB Nation's Tom Ziller notes, that's quite harsh considering suspensions for pot don't happen in the NBA until a player's third offense, and at that, it's only a suspension for five games. A six-month suspension is worth around 90 NBA games if a season were ongoing.
The team was also fined 10,000 yuan, which is approximately $1,500.
Now, Williams must've had a bit of bad luck. Apparently, they don't often test players for banned substances in the CBA.
"The truth is there were not many tests done in the basketball league," said Zhao Jian, vice director of CHINADA, adding that a total of 12 tests were conducted by far this season.
This must be uncharted territory in China. Williams' club apparently didn't know what to do with the news, claiming that Williams ruptured a ligament in his right leg and would be out for six weeks. And the comments after the announcement made the CBA appearing to be flabbergasted about a player testing positive for any substance, let alone pot.
Williams released a statement following the suspension:
"To all the CBA fans, Shanxi fans, sponsors, as well as my coaches and players I sincerely apologize. I have let a lot of people down and I regret it more then anything. I understand everyone's disappointment and I will do everything to improve and grow from this," said Williams who has been in China since 2010.
With the Brave Dragons in 2011, Williams averaged 32.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Williams had stints in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs (they drafted him 33rd overall in 2007) and the Los Angeles Clippers. He spent time with the Austin Toros of the D-League and appeared to have grown up, as 48 Minutes of Hell's Timothy Varner wrote three years ago.
Apparently, that's not exactly the case.
Williams in ways represented Arizona's downturn at the end of the Lute Olson era. He had a solid freshman campaign, and played well as a sophomore despite looking like a different player. Michael Schwartz, who covered Williams at Arizona for the Daily Wildcat, wrote this piece for Varner when Williams was in the states and points out Williams attitude change in his final season at Arizona.
That came with Olson's interesting comments that season about Williams working with someone during the offseason and altering his jump shot. Williams improved his shooting percentage his sophomore year from 45 percent to 49 percent, but his three-point shot that was good enough for 44 percent shooting his freshman season dropped to 29 percent a year later.