Sept. 29, 2011
AUBURN -- Harper Williams, a 17-year European professional basketball veteran, has been named Auburn Basketball Administrative Assistant, head coach Tony Barbee announced Thursday.
Williams, a four-year college teammate of Barbee at UMass from 1989-93, spent the previous 17 seasons playing professionally in the top leagues of Europe, including the Spanish ACB, the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, the Heba A-1 in Greece and Ligue Nationale de Basketball. He was a player/coach I Liga Espanola de Baloncesto - Adecco Oro, Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional and Novo Basquete Brasil.
"I am very excited about Harper joining our Auburn basketball program," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "My relationship with Harper goes back to when he was a college teammate of mine at UMass. Harper comes to Auburn with a wealth of basketball knowledge having played and coached professionally for 17 seasons."
Williams was the 1992 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and was a two-time Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Player in 1992 and 1993 as well as a two-time first-team all-conference selection. He was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Williams and Barbee teamed to lead UMass to a 91-39 record and earning four-straight postseason tournament bids. UMass won back-to-back Atlantic 10 Conference regular season and tournament titles in 1992 and 1993.
The duo led UMass to its first winning season and postseason appearance in 20 years as freshmen in 1990 in the NIT, the NIT Final Four in 1991. Williams drilled a game-tying 3-pointer, his first attempt of the season, to help UMass to a 77-71 victory over Syracuse in the 1992 NCAA Tournament Second Round giving the Minutemen their first Sweet 16 berth.
Despite missing several games with a broken wrist as a senior in 1992-93, Williams returned to lead UMass to the NCAA Tournament Second Round and a repeat of its Atlantic 10 Conference Championship.
Williams' professional accomplishments include the 1996 Copa de Rey Championship with Manresa, the 2000 French National Champions with Limoge CSP along with the 2000 Korac Cup Championship and the 2000 French King's Cup. He was the Most Spectacular Player in 1994, a French All-Star in 2000, a Greek All-Star in 2001 and ACB All-Star in 2003 and led the ACB in blocked shots in 2002.
Williams' 17-year European playing career consists of playing for Leon (ACB) in 1994, Estudiantes (ACB) in 1995, Manresa (ACB) in 1996, Estudiantes (ACB) in 1997, Leon (ACB) from 1998-99, Limoge CSP (France) in 2000, Pannionas (Greece) in 2001, Imola (Italy) in 2002, Manresa (ACB) from 2003-05, Gran Canarias (ACB) in 2006, Lugo (LEB) in 2007, Caceres (LEB) in 2008, Durango (LNB) in 2009 and France (NBB) in 2010.
The Bridgeport, Conn., native, led Bassick High to the Connecticut state championship with a 23-0 record as a senior in 1989 and was named the Connecticut Player of the Year. Williams earned a bachelor's of arts degree in Education from UMass in 1995.