Random Athlete of the Day- Corliss Williamson
Corliss Mondari Williamson (Mondari?!?) is the definition of a savvy NBA vet. Highly recruited out of high school where he was a three-time All-American and National Gatorade Player of the Year, Corliss stayed close to home and committed to play for Arkansas. Although his career at Arkansas is not well known, it is arguably one of the greatest Razorback successes of all-time.
As a freshman, Williamson was named to the SEC All-Freshman team and helped lead the Razorbacks to a Sweet Sixteen appearance. The following season, he took his game to a new level, guiding Arkansas to a National Championship over Duke. Rather than bolting for the NBA, Corliss returned for another year and made it to the NCAA Finals for the second consecutive year, but fell short to UCLA. In just three years, Williamson had Razorbacks to three SEC titles, two All-American honors, and a career 13-2 record in the NCAA Tournament. Statistically he finished his career averaging 19 ppg and 7.1 rpg. As a result, he was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Williamson was drafted by the Sacramento Kings 13th overall, and he experienced some early success, averaging over 10 ppg in four of his five seasons with the team. After a short stint with Toronto, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons. As a Piston, Corliss won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award and was a part of the Detroit team that downed the Lakers in ’04, making him one of the rare individuals to win both an NCAA and NBA title.
After spending one season with the Sixers, Corliss went back to his first NBA home to finish out his career with the Kings. However, Williamson’s retirement from the NBA did not end his career with the game, as he served as a coach for Arkansas Baptist and Central Arkansas.
Just this year, Corliss was brought back by the Kings to serve as an assistant coach, and will attempt to turnaround a franchise that has been under turmoil the last several years.
So next time you’re debating whether Chris Webber and the “Fab Five” could have taken down Joakim Noah and the Gators, don’t forget to bring up Corliss Williamson and his feisty Arkansas team.