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Report: Williams leaves Celtics for Nuggets 07.14.10 at 11:50 am ET
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According to a report from ESPN’s John Hollinger, forward Shelden Williams has agreed to sign with the Nuggets. Williams was a reserve for the Celtics in 2009-10 who showed flashes in the early part of the season but was not a contributor by the time the playoffs rolled around. The report indicates that the Nuggets also have re-signed veteran guard Anthony Carter.

Read More: Anthony Carter, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Shelden Williams
Shelden Williams expected to be back in lineup 05.22.10 at 7:43 pm ET
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Shelden Williams said that his back is “feeling much better” and that he expects to be among the 12 active Celtics for tonight’s Game 3. Williams was a late scratch from Game 2 with back spasms.

Brian Scalabrine took his place on the active roster but didn’t play. It was the first time in the playoffs that the Celtics had a lineup shift. Williams last saw action in Game 5 of the Cleveland series, but it is possible the Celtics could need him if any of their big men get in foul trouble.

Read More: Brian Scalabrine, Shelden Williams,
Rivers on Sheed: He has to play better 05.02.10 at 4:38 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Rasheed Wallace has said all season that the playoffs are what motivates him, but after a disastrous regular season, the playoffs have been pretty much the same story for the Celtics prized free agent acquisition.

Wallace picked up three quick fouls in the first half and went 1-for-5 in 13 minutes of Game 1 against the Cavaliers. He was also a liability again on the defensive end where his rotations were slow and his help defense was lacking.

“He has to play better, bottom line,” Doc Rivers said Sunday. “He has to play better defense. The offense will come but he has to be a better defender. We can’€™t wait. He has to play better.”

Rivers elected not to use Shelden Williams despite the heavy foul trouble that Wallace and Glen Davis found themselves in early in the game. That might change, although Rivers didn’t quite his tip his hand on that front.

“He is in the discussion every day,” Rivers said of Williams.

Is he is it more today?

“No,” Rivers answered. “But he definitely is in that discussion.”

Read More: Rasheed Wallace, Shelden Williams,
Williams happy to see Duke return to Final Four 03.30.10 at 12:36 am ET
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It’€™s hard for Shelden Williams to believe the last time the Duke appeared in the Final Four, he was on the court.

In 2004 the Blue Devils suffered a one-point loss to the University of Connecticut Huskies, who went on to win it all. Since then, the team had not been able to make it past the Sweet Sixteen. (Interestingly enough, Williams and the Blue Devils were eliminated by Glen Davis and the LSU Tigers in 2006.) But that all changed this season.

Six years later, Williams watched Duke defeat Baylor in the Elite Eight prior to the Celtics-Spurs game. (He even boasted when the Blue Devils drained back-to-back 3-pointers.) The top-seeded Blue Devils will face the second-ranked Mountaineers of West Virginia on Saturday in a Final Four match up. It has been a long wait for Williams, who is happy to see his alma mater just one game away from the championship battle.

What was it like watching Duke advance to the Final Four?

‘€œIt’€™s great. It’€™s kind of strange that this is the first time that we’€™ve been back to the Final Four since my team in ‘€˜04. It’€™s been kind of crazy, but actually this year has been amazing for college basketball fans to watch. This tournament has been unbelievable with underdog teams and powerhouse teams, you never know what to expect. If you had tried to tell me after being in the tournament that a fifth seed, a fifth seed, and only one one-seed would make it, that’€™s crazy.’€

Why do you think the Blue Devils could win it all this year?

‘€œEverybody on that team is playing their role. Nobody’€™s getting out of hands with things, nobody’€™s trying to doing more than what they can do. I think just everybody is playing their role and playing off of each other well. I think that’€™s a great thing for them to do. Whether they’€™re not shooting well, like [Sunday], (Kyle) Singler was 0-for-10, he’€™s one of the top scorers if not the top scorer on the team, and they still managed to find a way to win. That says a lot.’€

Even though you are in the NBA now, what do you miss the most about playing in the NCAA Tournament?

‘€œJust how much every game means to you, how much the atmosphere comes into play, everybody is into it whether they love you or hate you. Basketball is like king and everything else is secondary. It’€™s one of the best feelings to be part of.’€

For more on Williams career at Duke, where he graduated as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots, check out WEEI.com’s Inside the Game series.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Duke Blue Devils, Glen Davis, Shelden Williams
Doc to big men: Shelden ‘wants your minutes’ 03.17.10 at 8:40 pm ET
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Doc Rivers remembers how vital a sense of urgency can be for those who back up the starters.

The Celtics coach saw it on the 2008 championship team with Leon Powe and Glen Davis battling each other for minutes on the second unit with veterans James Posey and P.J. Brown.

Now, with Shelden Williams seeing some more playing time of late, he hopes history is in the course of repeating itself.

And he’s let everyone on the second unit know it.

“We kind of alerted the other bigs that if you’re not getting the job done, we’re just going to go with Shelden,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s game. “If he’s not, then we’ll go back with you. But I think right now, with our team, I think that’s a good place for all of them to be in.”

Rivers clearly is looking for that extra fire in the second unit to motivate the likes of Davis and Rasheed Wallace.

“I thought that was very good a couple of years ago with Leon and Baby,” Rivers said. “I thought that sense of urgency that the other guy wanted to play your minutes was a good thing for our team.

“We kind of feel into but I think it’s great that Shelden is there and wants your minutes.”

Williams has seen significant minutes of late in blowouts over the Pacers, Pistons and Knicks.

“It’s need and he’s showing me something,” Rivers said. “It’s been great all year in the fact that once he stopped playing he never stopped working.”

Read More: Celtics, Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Shelden Williams
One year later: The tweet that impacted the NBA 03.15.10 at 11:22 pm ET
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One year ago Monday, then-Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva entered the locker room during halftime of the Bucks-Celtics game. He logged into Twitter and posted the following tweet:

@CV31: In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.

Those hundred-something characters opened the virtual book on social networking in the NBA. His midgame tweet was frowned upon, and it created a ripple effect: Before the start of this season, a league-wide policy was enacted. Among its guidelines included the restriction of cell phones and other communication devices 45 minutes before the game and prohibited it during halftime.

A year later, Villanueva, now a member of the Pistons, is still surprised by the impact.

‘€œIt’€™s funny, because Twitter wasn’€™t really that big of a deal, like nobody really knew too much about it,’€œ he told WEEI.com following Monday’s Pistons-Celtics game. ‘€œI didn’€™t know it was going to get that much attention. I just did it, fun for the fans and whatnot, and the next day it just blew up. The media just took it and ran with it.

“Obviously I didn’€™t mean for it to get that much attention, but hey, it put my name out there even more,’€ he added with a laugh.

As of Monday night, Villanueva had 73,685 followers. It is a huge jump from his following a year ago. In an instant, he went from a Twitter novice to one of the early faces of social media in the NBA.

‘€œIt was crazy because I had just started, too,’€ he said. ‘€œI probably had like 2,000 followers at first. It was probably a couple of months old, two or three months old, my account. After that, it rose to like 13,000 in two or three days. It was ridiculous. Ever since, it’€™s just been picking up.’€

Villanueva has turned a potential negative into a positive by taking advantage of the benefits of social networking. He has raised awareness for charitable organizations, held contests for his followers to win game tickets, and spread well wishes to friends and fans alike.

‘€œThere are a lot of opportunities,’€ he explained. ‘€œYou get to meet a lot of people. It’€™s very important for networking, just opportunities come abound, appearances, they can just work directly with you instead of going through a third party.’€

Twitter has become the norm for many NBA players. On the Celtics, Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) has over 1.5 million followers, Ray Allen (@greenRAYn20) has nearly 25,000, and Shelden Williams (@SheldenWilliams) is a frequent tweeter with over 10,000 followers.

Now a seasoned vet, Villanueva has some advice for his fellow NBA athletes who are starting out in the world of social networking.

‘€œWhat the fans want to see is you being straight up and interacting with them as well,’€œ he suggested. ‘€œShowing pictures as well, they want to see what’€™s going on, what an NBA player does on a day-to-day basis.’€

Tweeting has become something Villanueva does on a day-to-day basis. Except during halftime, of course.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons, Paul Pierce
Inside the Game: Shelden Williams and the Art of Rebounding 01.05.10 at 10:41 pm ET
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For a player whose career had been filled with uncertainties, one thing was for sure about Shelden Williams.

‘€œShelden has proven he can defend and rebound,’€ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said at Williams’ introductory press conference this summer.

The Celtics were drawn to those defensive skills when they signed him during the offseason. They were looking to add another big man to their bench and believed he had the potential to help their team down low.

His rebounding contributions are even more critical now that Kevin Garnett is sidelined. Although he is not the first man off the bench,  Williams tries to make an impression on the boards whenever he can.

Before he began his NBA career, Williams had made his mark on Duke University. In fact, he had made it on backboards around the NCAA.

He graduated from Duke in 2006 as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots. Williams pulled down 1,262 boards over his four-year career and averaged 9.1 boards per game, including 11.2 as a junior. He became the third player in NCAA history to score 1,500 points, nab 1,000 rebounds, block 350 shots, and pick off 150 steals, while earning consecutive Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Williams was selected by the Hawks with the fifth pick in the 2006 Draft. That season he led all rookies in double-doubles and ranked third on his team in rebounds. Even as his playing time decreased and he was eventually traded (he was sent from the Hawks to the Kings to the Timberwolves over the course of two seasons), Williams stayed focused on attacking the boards.

Now on the Celtics, he has accepted the team’s defensive mentality. He is currently averaging 3.5 boards in 13.5 minutes and has recorded 8-, 9-, and 10-rebound games. Even though Williams has only played a total of 377 minutes (9th on team), he has recorded 99 rebounds (7th). He has also grabbed 33 offensive boards (4th), more than Rasheed Wallace and just seven shy of Garnett in 500 less minutes.

As part of WEEI.com’s ‘€œInside the Game’€ series with the Celtics, Williams explained the art of attacking the glass.

Learning at a Young Age: As a teenager, Williams led Midwest City High School (OK) to the Oklahoma Class 6A State Championship.
‘€œI was taught that very early on. My dad always told me about the importance of rebounding and playing defense. Those are two things that are will. If you want to do it, you have a will to do it. Those two things were taught to me at an early age and just kind of stuck.’€

His American Idol: The soft-spoken Williams admired one of the most colorful athletes to ever play the game of basketball.
‘€œDuring my time period coming up, it was Dennis Rodman. He was always going after every single rebound whether he’d be over the top or not. I think that watching him be relentless, I learned from that.’€

Leaving a Legacy: During his record-setting career at Duke, Williams grabbed a personal-best 19 rebounds against Virginia Tech in 2005.
‘€œ[My record] is very important. My shot blocking and my rebounding record will be there for a while so I scratched  my name on the stone, so to speak. My whole career that I was there, no one had averaged a double-double and that’s something I set out to do. I was able to accomplish it in my junior and senior year.’€

There’s a Thought Process: In order to be successful, Williams educates himself on his opponents before they take the shot so he can put himself in the best position once the ball is in the air.
‘€œ[When you go in for the rebound] depends on where the shot’s been taken from. You kind of play percentages. If the ball’s on the other end of the court and I’m on the opposite block, more often than not it’s going to come off the opposite of that block. Also you’ve got to take into account the guy who’s shooting it. Has he been missing his shot? Does he tend to be short a lot of the time? Whatever the case may be, you try to think about that as well.’€

Offensive vs. Defensive: This season the Celtics have been outperformed on the offensive glass. Williams says there is a difference on both ends of the court.
‘€œDefensive rebounding, more often than not for a big, you’re already down there. Most cases you play around the block, closer to the basket. Whereas for offensive rebounding, if you’re setting a pick out there on the wing, you’ve got to run into there. Like I said, there’s a big difference because most time on defense you’re already in the paint … Any time the ball goes up I try to attack the glass. More often than not, not everybody’s attacking the glass all the time, so I try to make myself available, especially on the offensive end, to I keep the ball alive.’€

Make the Extra Effort: At 6-9, Williams still works hard to make sure he has the edge over his opponents at the basket. On this particular day of the interview, he was the last player to leave the court after practice.
‘€œ[I] just try to rebound as much as I can. I try to make the concerted effort.’€

PREVIOUS ENTRIES

Inside the Game: Paul Pierce and the Art of Versatility

Inside the Game: Kendrick Perkins on the Art of Shot-Blocking

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