Williams to shoot for Slamm
By Andrew Ayres, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff, 1/9/1999

When the Springfield Slamm plays its home opener Jan. 8, the defending Eastern Basketball Alliance champions likely will offer a sight familiar to area basketball fans: Mike Williams shooting the basketball.

Former UMass guard Michael Williams.
Daily Hampshire Gazette file photo
Williams, the former University of Massachusetts standout, never met a shot he didn't like, but with the departure of Ron Saab, a point guard who shot as well as he passed, coach Don Moye expects new point man Donta Johnson to help Williams get even more chances to score.

"He's got a wealth of offensive talent. He's going to have some good looks with Donta in there," said Moye, who formerly coached the Northampton High boys varsity team.

The Slamm play the Morris (N.J.) Revolution at 7 p.m. in Blake Arena at Springfield College, with the second game against the Delaware Blue Bombers set for Sunday at 3 p.m.

Williams, 26, has high aspirations.

"Mike has played better defense this year. He's looking for a break. I've talked with him about Michael Adams and how he played with the (defunct) Springfield Fame before heading to the NBA," Moye said.

"It's his dream to play in the NBA," Al Williams said Thursday about his son Mike, who was unavailable for comment.

Williams had 18 points in the Slamm's 107-105 championship win over Harrisburg last April 19.

Johnson, a first-year pro from Tuckahoe, N.Y., who helped Springfield College to three NCAA Division 3 tournaments, knows the most important thing he can do is make his teammates better.

"I'm a team player. At Springfield we played together and had fun. I think we can have the same type of thing with the Springfield Slamm," said Johnson, who is working on his master's degree in athletic counseling. "I'm going penetrate and kick it out. I like to work it inside out."

Johnson's smarts might lead some to call him a coach on the floor. Actually, the Slamm has several coaches on the floor. Hassan Robinson coaches the Longmeadow boys varsity, Ramon Cosme assists the Holyoke High boys, James Hector is the Springfield Technical Community College coach, and Jamahl Jackson is the junior varsity boys coach at Amherst Regional.

Moye predicts that Jackson, the former Amherst Regional star and University of New Hampshire player, will play shooting guard and small forward, in addition to point guard in a pinch.

"He's made some improvement and puts the ball in the hole pretty well," Moye said.

The minor league the Slamm plays in has undergone some changes. It's now known as the United Basketball Alliance. The other teams in the six-team league include the Lancaster Storm, New Philadelphia Firedogs and Harrisburg Horizon.

The local team has a simple motto. "Slamm again," Moye said. "We want to repeat."

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