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Former Tar Heel Marvin Williams returns to his roots

July 21, 2014

(Photo courtesy of Shane Skeary/Charlotte Hornets)

A native of the state of Washington, Marvin Williams is returning to his North Carolina roots.

The 10-year forward was officially introduced as a member of the Charlotte Hornets on Monday during a special press conference.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Williams said on Monday. “I thank everyone for coming out. It is great to be back in North Carolina and to be in the city of Charlotte playing for the Hornets. I’m really excited. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

General Manager Rich Cho is excited to add Williams to the Hornets roster and believes Williams is still in the prime of his career.

“(Williams) adds a lot of versatility to our frontcourt with his ability to play small forward and power forward,” Cho said. “He’s also a guy that’s really improved throughout the years. Just as an example, in the 2007-08 season, he was 1-for-10 from beyond the arc. Over the last three years, he’s really improved that. He shot roughly 36 percent from 3-point range on close to 550 attempts.”

Cho expects Williams to use his 6-foot-9 frame to stretch the floor with his shooting.

Williams is reunited with former Utah Jazz teammate and second-year Hornets center Al Jefferson.

“Al is such a dominant presence in the post,” Williams said. “I don’t know if there is a center that can guard Al by himself. He definitely demands a double team, especially when he catches it on the low blocks. I think for me I can benefit personally and help Al, as well, by kind of spacing and knocking down shots for him so they don’t have to double. If you can put a lot of good perimeter shooting around Big Al, I think we can make it very difficult for other teams to try to slow us down.”

Jefferson isn’t the only former team member that Williams will be familiar with in Charlotte.

“I played with Janerro Pargo in Atlanta. He and I are pretty cool,” Williams said. “Obviously, Al. I got an opportunity to work with (Hornets assistant coach) Mark Price in Atlanta. He and I are pretty cool, as well.”

A member of the 2005 National Championship men’s basketball team at the University of North Carolina, Williams has remained close with his former Tar Heel teammates, especially a pair of former Charlotte Bobcats.

“I actually live with Sean (May) in the summer time,” Williams said. “He and I live together in Chapel Hill. We train with Ray (Felton) every single day. He’s got a really nice house out there, so we spend a lot of time at his place.”

Williams said he also stays in touch with former UNC basketball standouts Jawad Williams, David Noel and Jackie Manuel, as well as coach Wes Miller.

“There are a ton of us that live in that area,” Williams said of his Tar Heel connections. “We are definitely close.”

Perhaps the biggest of the Tar Heels in the area — Michael Jordan — is what helped land Williams in a Hornets uniform.

“I feel like we have mutual respect for each other,” Williams said of his relationship with Jordan. “I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more of him. It’ll be good seeing him, as well.”

Cho said after Williams’ signing that the Hornets are nearly finished with free agency and prepared heading into the 2014-15 season.

“We are almost done, but we’ll always be looking to improve the team, too,” Cho said.

Williams is hoping to be a part of something special with the recently reincarnated Hornets franchise.

“I watched the guys during the playoff run. I really felt like the city of Charlotte kind of jumped on your back, and they saw something special here,” Williams said. “I feel like I wanted to be a part of that. I’m really excited that I have a chance to be a part of something like that.”

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