Newly acquired Williams looks to start fresh with Celtics

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Newly acquired Williams looks to start fresh with Celtics

WALTHAM As Sean Williams finished talking with the media following a rare Boston Celtics practice, he was ready to head back to the locker room and change.

He opened one door, only to realize it wasn't the one he was looking for.

"See, I'm still learning my way around here," said Williams, who seconds later found the right door.

Williams has a history of taking the wrong path, whether it was his time at Boston College which led to him being kicked off the team, or in the NBA in two-plus seasons with the New Jersey Nets.

By all accounts, those troubled days have certainly delivered a major blow to his stock as an NBA player.

But it also in many ways humbled him, making the 25-year-old appreciate the one thing so few NBA teams have been willing to give him lately - an opportunity.

And the C's are more than willing to give him that chance, something that few teams have been willing to do after his first three seasons in New Jersey seemed to get progressively worse from one year to the next.

Since appearing in 126 games during his first three seasons with the Nets, Williams has played in just nine NBA games since - eight with the Dallas Mavericks and one with the Celtics.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle speaks highly of Williams, a player they had to release because at the time they needed help at the wing position.

Carlisle describes Williams as a "good kid, great athlete" who is a "very smart kid."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers spoke with a number of former coaches and former teammates of Williams, who all spoke glowingly about him.

"The one thing they all say is he's not just smart, he's brilliant smart," Rivers said. "But he does dumb things. We have to get him away from that, and just be a ball player. If he can do that, he has a chance."

And at this point, that's all Williams wants from the Celtics.

"You just come in, try to work hard, keep your eyes open, come in early, stay late and get a sense of how the organization is run," Williams said. "And work hard, at the end of the day, just work hard."

Those are the expectations he has for himself.

As for what Rivers expects from Williams?

"He just told me to be a positive influence, and have each other's back," Williams said. "It starts with the family."

And Williams is indeed part of that family, which is a testament in itself as to how much Rivers believes that despite Williams' issues in the past, he believes he can be an asset - both as a person and as a player - for the Celtics now.

"We're bringing in a 10-day, and I talked to nine coaches, assistant coaches, ex-players who played with him, because my locker room is unbelievable," Rivers said. "I don't want to bring in anyone, even for five days, that'll upset that."

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Listen to Phil Perry’s interview with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who has funneled his college players — James White, Trey Flowers, and others — to the Patriots in this edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.


 

Garcia has an early feel for Scarnecchia: 'Intense...very intense'

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Garcia has an early feel for Scarnecchia: 'Intense...very intense'

FOXBORO -- There's no identity crisis. He's Tony now, but he's always been Tony.

Yet Tony Garcia, the rookie offensive tackle the Patriots selected in the fourth round out of Troy, was announced by Matthew Slater at the draft podium in Philadelphia as "An-to-ni-o Gar-ci-a."

At the NFL Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl, it was the same thing. He was known as Antonio.

That's his given name. It's how he was listed on his college roster. But it's not what his teammates and coaches have called him all his life.

To them he's Tony.

"Tony is just a childhood name," he said. "I've always been called that. I don't know why I've been listed as Antonio."

The reason for the switch? When he arrived in Foxboro, they asked him how he wanted to be listed. At Troy, they didn't.

So Tony it is, although he'll probably answer to whatever offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia calls him these days.

After Garcia was drafted, he quickly jumped on a conference call with Patriots reporters and was asked what he knew about Scarnecchia.

"Um, not much," was his brief reply. 

"You will," cracked a reporter on the other end.

Since then, after rookie minicamp and a few weeks of organized team activities, Garcia's gotten to know his new boss fairly well.

"Great coach," he said of Scarnecchia with a smile. "Intense. Very intense. He gets the job done. He really knows his stuff."

Garcia acknowledged he has solid examples to look up to in Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon, who've served as the examples of what to do and how to work over the course of the last month or so. 

"They've been good role models," Garcia said. "They set the example here. They do everything right, know the playbook forwards and backwards . . ."

"I'm just trying to earn my place, day by day."