Former Arizona Wildcats forward Marcus Williams last appeared in the news and on this blog when he became the first Chinese Basketball Association player to test positive for a banned substance. On Monday, there was a bit better news coming out about Williams.
According to reports from RealGM and Denver Stiffs, the second-round pick by the San Antonio Spurs will get another shot at the NBA with the Denver Nuggets. Williams will sign a one-year deal and likely will have to fight for a spot on the Nuggets roster. He's been in China since 2010.
The irony here is that Williams will be playing in a state where marijuana is legal. Williams failed his drug test in China due to marijuana and as we've seen with current Denver big man J.J. Hickson being suspended in the past week, the legalization in Colorado doesn't make it any more OK for NBA players. Oddly enough, the NBA's drug policy is much more lenient than the one in the CBA. Williams was suspended six whole months, whereas the NBA only suspends a player five games -- and that's after testing positive for pot on the third offense.
Williams' stint at Arizona was a weird one. It came at the tail end of Lute Olson's time and it only lasted two seasons. Many Arizona fans may have mixed feelings about Williams, who averaged 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in his sophomore year before declaring for the league. He was clearly talented, had a smooth feel for the game, but often times seemed set on proving he was ready for the NBA.
Those of us who didn't watch the Austin Toros in the D-League five years back haven't seen Williams play since his college days at Arizona, and it would be intriguing to see how he looks years older and playing with an NBA squad.