He was one of the great guys.
CHARLOTTE — Jazz fans will remember Marvin Williams as one of the few bright spots for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Utah Jazz teams. He was a well-liked player by fans, teammates and the media.
He started 101 games and averaged 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds during the last two years of the Tyrone Corbin regime.
Williams signed a free-agent contract with Charlotte after leaving Utah and said he is “having a great time” playing near where he played his college basketball at North Carolina. He has started every game for the past three seasons and is averaging just over 10 points per game. In Friday’s 99-88 victory over his former team, he scored 15 points.
When asked about his time in Utah before Friday’s game, Williams couldn’t stop gushing.
“They were all great memories,” he said. “I was just telling the guys 20 minutes ago, how much I enjoyed playing there. We didn’t have the best record and I still remember walking around Salt Lake and so many people would come up to you and were so encouraging, so enthusiastic about the team. It’s definitely a great place to play if anyone ever has an opportunity to play there, I hope they’ll take advantage of it because they’ll see how happy they are about the Jazz.”
The only players left from his time in Utah are Derrick Favors and Alec Burks.
“He was one of the great guys,” said Burks. “He would do anything for you. It was great to play with him I learned a lot from him on and off the court. He was definitely a great guy.”
Williams, who was the No. 2 pick of the 2005 draft behind Utah’s Andrew Bogut, said he hopes to keep playing as long as he is physically able.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said. “I feel good and Lord willing, as long as I stay healthy and physically strong enough, I’ll keep doing it.”
FIRE WITHIN: Rodney Hood might be the most mild-mannered guy on the whole Jazz team, but he was told to cough up $35,000 to the NBA for the incident Wednesday night when he knocked a cellphone out of a fan’s hand after being ejected with his second technical foul late in the third quarter.
"(It was) general frustration,” said Hood Friday before the game. “On the phone situation, I apologized to the man — it wasn't intentional and I regret it and I’ll move on from it."
Coach Quin Snyder didn’t address the fine but said the usually low-keyed Hood “has a little fire burning in him” and tried to put some context to it all.
“Those things happen,” he said. “You’d like to sit here and say ‘I’d like to you to deal with it this way or that way’ and sometimes the game dictates your emotions. It’s happened to me, it happens to everyone, it happens to officials. In this case, Rodney got heated and ended up getting ejected and we move on.”
GAME NOTES: Steve Clifford, who has coached the Hornets since 2013-14, took a medical leave of absence on Dec. 6 and associate head coach Stephen Silas took over. But Thursday, Clifford was medically cleared to return to coaching on a full-time basis beginning with practice on Tuesday with his first game back on Wednesday against Washington . . . The Hornets took a similar-sized player to Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, two picks before Utah at No. 11 in last summer's NBA Draft in Malik Monk, a 6-3, 200-pound guard out of Kentucky. Monk didn’t play Friday and has scored just nine points in last six games . . . The Jazz play at home against Indiana Monday night, go to Sacramento for a game Wednesday, then return home to play New York Friday and the L.A. Clippers Saturday . . . The Hornets play at Utah on February 9.