DEARBORN, Mich. - After a record-setting senior season with the University of Michigan-Dearborn men's basketball team, Marcus Williams has taken his talents to the next level, signing a professional contract to play in Europe, it was announced Wednesday.
Williams has inked a one-plus-one deal with Košarkarski Klub Šentjur (KK Šentjur), which currently competes in the Premier A Slovenian League, the top league in Slovenia. The team is based in Šentjur, Slovenia and was founded in 1969. KK Šentjur won the Slovenian First League and Slovenian Supercup in 2015.
"I've had my eye on playing ball in Europe," Williams said. "I didn't know how or when it would happen, but I was confident that it would."
The process to find a home in Europe got rolling immediately after the conclusion of the UM-Dearborn 2016-17 season, as Williams was determined to move to the professional level. He signed with an agent and put together a highlight tape to distribute to potential destinations. The next step included workouts, which saw Williams travel to South Carolina, Florida and Las Vegas in the early summer months.
KK Šentjur was able to see Williams at a workout and reached out, talking with UM-Dearborn Head Coach Taylor Langley and others to gauge the potential and interest of Williams. The club made an offer, which Williams excitedly accepted. The deal is a one-plus-one contract, which allows Williams to play this season. If he decides to return in 2018-19, he has that option, or he could leave for a different opportunity if it is presented to him. His deal includes housing, food, insurance, a car and a salary, which has the potential to increase in the second year.
"Marcus played a major role in transforming the identity of our program," Langley said. "His combination of size and skill was something that made him very tough for opposing teams to deal with. He also was incredibly selfless and a great teammate."
Williams knows he will have to adjust to life in Slovenia, as well as a different style of basketball, noting that the players are going to be more experienced and that possessions are going to be more valuable. He is confident that he was offered a contract because he brings a valuable set of assets to the team.
"My ability to shoot the ball was key to getting noticed," Williams said. "I shot over 40 percent from three at UM-Dearborn and not many guys that can play the four (forward) can shoot like that. Once they saw that, they were interested."
In his senior season with the Wolverines, Williams scored 16.5 points per game, adding 6.4 rebounds and hit 43.9 percent of his shots from behind the 3-point line. His defense made great strides in 2016-17, including setting the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference record for blocks in a game with seven in a contest at home against Concordia University. He finished with 955 points in just two seasons after transferring to UM-Dearborn as a junior.
Williams graduated from UM-Dearborn earlier this year with a Bachelor's Degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology.
"Marcus has earned the privilege of a professional contract through his hard work and dedication," Langley said. "Marcus's achievement demonstrates that choosing a program that is a great fit over a program that's simply the highest level can allow players to reach their life-long dreams. Without Marcus's impact on our program, we would not be where we are today."
Williams leaves for Slovenia on Tuesday and is set to return in May at the conclusion of the league season.