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John Williamson
Guard
Born November 10, 1951(1951-11-10)
New Haven, Connecticut
Died November 30, 1996 (aged 45)
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
College New Mexico State
Draft 6th round, 10th pick (96th overall), 1973
Atlanta Hawks
Pro career 1973–1981
Former teams New York Nets (1973–77)
Indiana Pacers (1977–78)
New Jersey Nets (1978–79)
Washington Bullets (1979–81)

John Lee Williamson (November 10, 1951(1951-11-10) – November 30, 1996) was an American basketball player.

Williamson played high school basketball at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Connecticut and played college basketball at New Mexico State University. He was a 6'2" guard. Williamson was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the 6th round (10th pick) of the 1973 NBA Draft but had other plans.

While at Wilbur Cross High School, Williamson played on the Connecticut state champion teams of 1966-67, 1967-68 and was runner up to crosstown rival Hillhouse in 1968-69, losing 76-71 in the final. For his senior (1969-70) year, Williamson led the nation in scoring with a gaudy 38.7 points per game average. His team was upset in a semi-final match that is still talked about, 105-103 to Bridgeport Central. Cross had destroyed Central in the 1968 title game by 40 points in a 123-82 pasting of a heralded Bridgeport, CT squad that boasted it would defeat the Governors.

Williamsons' teammates, Alex Scott 24 points, and Clint Davis 40 points, led the way in the romp for Cross' third consecutive title. Williamson chipped in 17, which was his average that year. He went on to team up with Scott and Davis at New Mexico State University where he averaged 27 points per game his sophomore and junior years. In the final regular season game of 69-70 Cross played St. Anthony's Catholic of Washington, DC. They were the no. 1 team in the DC metro area and one of the top five in the country. Coached by Georgetown legend John Thompson, Cross was a huge underdog. All-America player Williamson scored 36 points and fellow all-stater Danny Hardy had 22 to pace the Governors to a 74-66 win. The game was memorable in that John Thompson took his team off the floor and to the locker room with about two and a half minutes remaining in protest over officiating. They would not return. Anyone from New Haven who was at the game will tell you, the real reason was John "SuperJohn" Williamson! That was the way Thompson kept "SuperJohn" from scoring forty or more points. He was not the only coach was made that boast. For as long as basketball is played in New Haven,the John Williamson legend will live on. Of note is that Williamson had a string of nine straight games in which he scored 40 or more points.

As a rookie, Williamson landed with the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association as a free agent for the 1973-74 season. Williamson quickly entered the New York starting lineup despite being a rookie. After Williamson became a starter, the team's fortunes quickly turned for the better and the team ended up winning the ABA Championship that season. Williamson was named to the 1974 ABA All-Rookie team.

Continuing with the Nets, Williamson had a remarkable performance in Game 6 of the 1976 ABA Finals. He scored 28 points, with 16 of them coming in the fourth quarter, leading the Nets to come back from 22 points behind to win the game, the series and the ABA championship.

Williamson's jersey number (23) was retired[1] by the New York/New Jersey Nets franchise on December 7, 1990, only one of four players who were with the Nets during their ABA days who had their numbers retired, including Wendell Ladner, Bill Melchionni, and Julius Erving.

In 1977 Williamson was traded to the Indiana Pacers in midseason; in the middle of the next season he went back to the Nets. In the 1980 season he went from the Nets to the Washington Bullets where he finished his eight year career during the 1981 season.

In his pro career Williamson scored 9,017 points. He averaged between 11.5 and 29.5 points in every season except for his last.

Williamson still holds Nets team records in various categories, including most free throw attempts with 24 (since tied by Vince Carter and Devin Harris).[2]

At the age of 45, Williamson died of kidney failure related to diabetes on November 30, 1996.

References

  1. ^ "Nets: Retired Numbers". NBA. http://www.nba.com/nets/history/retirednumbers.html#23. Retrieved 2005-12-06.  
  2. ^ Harris has field day at stripe as Nets hand Pistons 1st loss in Iverson's debut
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