UTAH JAZZ

Former Jazzman Deron Williams Receives High Praise From College Coach On Amazing Comeback In 2005

Apr 1, 2020, 2:58 PM | Updated: Apr 2, 2020, 11:16 am
Deron Williams #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini shoots a three pointer late in regulation against...
Deron Williams #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini shoots a three pointer late in regulation against the Arizona Wildcats in the Chicago Regional Final in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Allstate Arena on March 26, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Ilinois defeated Arizona 90-89 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Jazzman Deron Williams received high praise from his former college coach Bruce Weber for Illinois’ miraculous comeback in the NCAA Tournament in 2005.

March 26th was the 15-year anniversary of the big comeback from Illinois against Arizona in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

The Illini was down 80-72 with a few minutes remaining in the game when they came back and Deron Williams nailed the three that would send the game to overtime. Illinois won the game 90-89 and advanced to the Final Four.

Former Illinois head coach Bruce Weber talked about the comeback with Andy Katz on his NCAA March Madness podcast.

“Well, I always give Deron Williams credit for it,” Weber told Katz. “We are at the four minute mark when we were 15 or 13 down and I am dying because this is what we shot for all year, dominating college basketball. You beat the No. 1 team Wake Forest with Chris Paul earlier in the year by 30-something points and now all of a sudden it might be gone.”

Weber also recalled the leadership Williams had in the huddle of that game.

“Deron said ‘hey guys, coach always says concentrate on one possession at a time, we still have our goal there, let’s just chip at this thing.’ It got our guys’ attention.”

Illinois eventually appeared in the National Championship game where they lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Months later, Williams would be drafted by the Jazz with the fifth overall pick in 2005.

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Former Jazzman Deron Williams Receives High Praise From College Coach On Amazing Comeback In 2005