Former Illini Deron Williams will try to win his second Olympic gold medal with Team USA at the London Games. Robert Archibald, meanwhile, will also compete in the Olympis with Great Britain.
July 8, 2012
The University of Illinois basketball program will be well represented in the Summer Olympics with two former Fighting Illini stars representing their countries at the London Games, July 27-Aug. 12. Deron Williams has once again been named to Team USA, while Robert Archibald earned a spot on Great Britain's roster.
Williams was part of the U.S. team that went undefeated in Beijing in 2008, becoming the first Illini basketball player ever to win an Olympic gold medal. He is one of five players from the 2008 squad to also make this year's roster, joined by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Rounding out the Team USA squad are Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Tyson Chandler and Andre Iguodala.
Williams has had a brilliant professional career since leaving the UI campus. The seven-year NBA veteran and current Brooklyn Net averaged 21.0 points (11th in NBA) and 8.7 assists (fifth in NBA) last season and set a career-high and Nets franchise record with 57 points at Charlotte on March 4. Williams has participated in the last three NBA All-Star Games and is a two-time All-NBA selection.
The highest-drafted player in Illinois history at No. 3 overall, Williams earned consensus second-team All-America honors in his final campaign with the Orange & Blue in 2005 and led the Illini to a national runner-up finish, Big Ten regular season and tournament titles, and final record of 37-2. He was third on the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points, and led the Big Ten and ranked 11th in the nation in assists, averaging 6.8 apg. He shattered the UI school record for assists in a season with 264, which also ranked as the third-highest total in Big Ten history. Williams was at his best during the NCAA Tournament, averaging 14.7 points and 8.3 assists. He was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Chicago Regional and earned NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team honors. Williams remains 39th on the Illini all-time scoring list with 1,111 career points and No. 4 on the school's career assists list with 594 assists.
Archibald, a native of Scotland, will help represent a Great Britain squad that is competing in the Olympics in basketball for the first time since 1948. This will mark the final chapter of a productive 10-year pro career for Archibald, who plans to retire following the summer games. He spent his first two years in the NBA before playing in various leagues across Europe over the last eight seasons.
Archibald was a third-team All-Big Ten pick for the Illini as a senior in 2002, averaging 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds. He led the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 65.9 percent, a figure that still stands as the UI's single-season school record. Illinois won back-to-back Big Ten titles when Archibald was an upperclassman and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2001 and Sweet 16 in 2002.