Sunday, March 9, 2003

Rookie Williams can't keep quiet

NBA insider: Former Duke star second-guesses team strategy; expounds on living life as a losing Bull

Enquirer wire reports

The supposed Can't-Miss Kid of the 2002 draft has turned into Can't Get Right. Jay Williams, the No. 2 pick by the Chicago Bulls, has come up with excuse after excuse as to why his rookie season has been a bust.

And last week, Williams decided to let off some steam.

"Maybe some things that we did four or five years ago aren't going to be things that work now," Williams said, complaining about the Bulls' offense. "I see other teams knowing what we do, in and out, and maybe it's time to do something a little different."

Addressing a possible rift between Bulls players and coach Bill Cartwright, Williams added: "That's what this could do to you, losing this many games. It's definitely frustrating and makes you second-guess yourself and second-guess everything that's going on here. Chicago deserves a winner. It's a great city. When you play the same way for a long time, it can become very dull."

But it was what followed that made Williams detractors take notice when he made his second veiled trade request. The first came when he told his father that perhaps he should be traded, and his father mentioned it to a reporter.

This time, it came out from Williams directly.

"We need to get better," he said. "If we don't get better, maybe some things need to happen. Maybe I go, some people go, just changes to get things better. Chicago deserves it. I think it's a great city. I love being here. They deserve to have a good team."

Williams has had trouble dealing with any criticism or lack of success from the moment he missed two crucial free throws in the Bulls' opener. He has had issues with point guard Jamal Crawford, who suggests he's better than Williams, and with Jalen Rose, who uses a tough-love approach to leadership.

Whatever the issue, guard Rick Brunson said no one feels sorry for the rookie.

"I've told Jay from the beginning, 'People in this league hate Duke because they win and are always successful,' " he said. "People around the league like to see Duke players fail. Jay's genuine and maybe too smart for his own good. But you can't change the league."

NO PAY FOR OLYMPIC PLAY: Ray Allen has committed to playing in the 2004 Olympics at Athens. But the Seattle guard wondered last week whether he and his teammates will be receiving the proper thanks for playing for their country.

"If you think about it, the first two Dream Teams, they got paid," Allen said. "I don't think a lot of people realize that - they got paid off licensing.

"The 1996 Atlanta team got paid. So when we came to Australia in 2000, we were like, 'How much money are we going to get?' And they said, 'You guys aren't getting anything.' And I was like, 'Well, how is that? Don't you feel that you should pay? We are playing basketball.' "

Allen said players from the 1996 Olympic team told him the team split more than $200,000, and the original Dream Team shared more than $1 million.

"If we didn't get paid, I would still do it, but I know they make money off licensing, jersey-wise," Allen said. "And I think from a Players' Association point of view, they should stipend something, because the NBA is making money, USA Basketball is making money."

BERMUDA TRIANGLE: The "Texas Triangle" has become a tough road trip for NBA teams. Visitors to the Lone Star state have compiled a 21-70 (.231) record.

Four teams have gone through a true Texas Triangle, meaning they played at Dallas, San Antonio and Houston on the same road trip.

Boston, Golden State, the Clippers and Portland left a combined 2-10.

Two more teams, Orlando and Seattle, will go through the triangle in April.

Eastern Conference teams have gone 4-31, and no East team has recorded more than one win. Western Conference teams are 17-39 (.304) on the road in Texas.

BETTER WITHOUT BARON? Baron Davis has missed six weeks after knee surgery, but New Orleans has thrived without him.

Behind Jamal Mashburn, the Hornets have gone from hovering around .500 to challenging for one of the top four playoff spots and possibly the Central Division title.

"Little did I know we'd be doing better than .500," coach Paul Silas said of playing without Davis. "Normally, you wait until you get one of your starting players back, and that's when you really take off. But we've just hit on a combination that worked. Just clicked."

Davis is expected back Tuesday.

PARTING GIFT: David Robinson isn't the only San Antonio Spur probably playing his last season. Steve Kerr also is considering retirement.

But Kerr doesn't want all the farewell gifts Robinson is receiving. He requests only one gift.

"Beer," Kerr said. "Just beer.

"Maybe a 12-pack of Bud Light a night."

No. 11 XU 96, Temple 65
Daugherty: Good as it gets for Xavier
Matta responds to calls for 'Rhino'
Women: Rhode Island 52, Xavier 48

Marquette 70, UC 61
Bearcats' crown slips away
Women: Cincinnati 81, DePaul 64

No. 2 UK 69, No. 3 Florida 67
Simply a Tubby masterpiece
Equipment guy? Mr. Wildcat a cultural icon
Marshall 58, Miami 51
Mich. State 72, Ohio St. 58
Texas holds off Oklahoma
How Top 25 fared, scores
NKU lands GLVC title, Div. II tourney bid
Area players have Purdue in gear
Twelve Villanova players suspended
Stone sits as NCAA again has questions
Jordan to make final Garden appearance
Rookie Williams can't keep quiet

Batting order starting to take shape for Reds
Reds 8, Red Sox 8
Kearns latest sidelined by injury
Reds Q&A
Sore elbow made restless spectator of Hudson
Piniella, Baker left their mark
Twins lose Milton for 4-6 months
Applicants want to feed fans

Lewis accentuates the positive
FB Luchey bolts for Packers
Bengals Q & A
Bears make offer to Slash

Elder succumbs to confident Springboro in district championship
3-pointers save day for Crusaders
Trojans clinch 1st state tourney berth
Fookes earns 400th victory as Rebels win
Campbell Co. clinches first district title since '91
Princeton is pushed, but gains regionals
Hamilton drops St. X in wild one
Centerville dashes Warriors' hopes
Highlands, Dixie Heights unhappy with region draws
Groeschen: Preps Insider
Schmidt: Ky. Preps Insider
Prep playoffs results, schedules

OSU spring game tickets go on sale Monday

Hoch shares lead with Tway at Doral
Duval diagnosed with vertigo
Woods, Els formidable team
Burk receives award, maintains campaign against Augusta

Ducks edge Grizzlies 4-3
Seven Four Seven takes Wintergreen
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

Sports, politics a combustible mix

This weekend's sports on TV, radio