|08 January 2013|
|Seems to have found his floor general: Hapoel Holon head coach Dan Shamir|
Hapoel Unet Holon entered the new year determined to turn their season around, and the first signs can only be interpreted as very encouraging.
Around New Year's Day, the Israeli club decided to drop small forward David Smith and Israeli shooting guard Ofir Farhi from their roster.
Smith was Holon's third-leading scorer in the EuroChallenge with 10.8 points and also contributed 6.7 rebounds and three assists on average in the six games of the Regular Season.
Perhaps surprisingly, the club decided his replacement would be a point guard, the 26-year-old Dominic Waters.
The American playmaker had begun the season at Union Olimpija Ljubljana and featured in nine Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season games, averaging 2.4 points and 3.6 assists per contest, before parting ways with the Slovenian side.
The move was deemed a necessary measure in an effort to stop Holon's frustrating slide in the domestic league.
Holon had embarked on their Israeli BSL campaign in impressive form, winning three of their first four games.
They maintained that level in the EuroChallenge and claimed four victories in the Regular Season to take second spot in Group H, behind Telekom Baskets Bonn, and secure their place in the Last 16.
On the domestic front however, things went pair-shaped and Holon finished 2012 on a seven-game losing streak.
On Monday night, they were hosting Maccabi Bazan Haifa, who are third in the league standings, with newly-arrived Williams having spent only four days' worth of practices with his new team-mates.
If what head coach Dan Shamir had asked the new addition was to show his organising abilities, then Williams delivered better than anyone could expect.
The point guard instantly assumed the orchestra conductor role and dished out 13 assists, adding eight points with an infallible 4-of-4 from the charity stripe during the 36 minutes he spent on the floor.
With Williams making things happen on offence and big man Franklin Hassell at his usual best, a good second quarter and an even better third brought Holon into the final frame with a 16-point advantage.
Despite a brave Haifa comeback in the final stanza, the hosts managed to hold on and clinch a vital, on many levels, 89-84 victory.
Hassell was once again immense for Holon and collected a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Lawrence Hill went 3-for-3 from behind the three-point arc and finished with 16 points.
Holon are in Group J in the Last of the EuroChallenge along with Paris Levallois, Szolnoki Olaj and BCM Gravelines Dunkerque.
They are facing the Parisians away when the Last 16 tips off on 15 January.