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Old 12-14-2006, 12:45 PM   #1
DTribble
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Default Great CV article

It's a fairly long article, which is nice, especially outside of Milwaukee, but a good read. The only thing I have a contention with s the TJ comments. I think he's adjusting just fine, as far as stats go, in Toronto.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Charlie Villanueva had never sustained a significant injury on any level before this season. So when he a tore a ligament in his left elbow Nov. 14, forcing him to miss 10 games, it motivated the Milwaukee Bucks forward like nothing else.

"It was hard," said Villanueva, bearing the same infectious smile he had at UConn. "It was definitely hard for me. I couldn't help my team, just sitting there watching in a suit. I don't like being in a suit too much. I like playing dressed in a uniform. But now I'm back on the court, trying to play every game as best I can."

Villanueva's fourth game back was Wednesday night against the New Jersey Nets and he did whatever he wanted in the paint against the Atlantic Division leaders, scoring 11 points in the first half in 21 minutes. He followed that with an eight-point third quarter and finished with 23 in a 108-95 loss that dropped the Bucks to 9-13.

"I played all right, but I really wanted us to get the win," said Villanueva, who had five rebounds and three steals in 40 minutes. "I don't want to make excuses but we ran out of gas."

He had what coach Terry Stotts termed a rough start in his first game back - eight points, three rebounds and three fouls in 17 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 8. He smoothed things out the next night, dropping 24 and eight on the Knicks and on Tuesday, he hit a couple of big shots down the stretch to help the Bucks beat Seattle 94-93 in Milwaukee. He finished with 15 points and six rebounds in 34 minutes. He is averaging 15.6 points and 6.7 rebounds.

"Coming back after missing 31/2 weeks is an adjustment," Stotts said. "But I was very surprised how quickly he was able to come back in terms of being able to throw him back out there and playing him 25-30 minutes after not playing for that long."

Villanueva, whose work ethic was questioned by some draftniks when he came out of college, made a determined effort to return.

"My focus was, all right I tore a ligament in my elbow but I still got my legs," Villanueva said. "I can still run and just try to stay in the best shape as possible. I couldn't lift upper body but I lifted lower body. I made sure I took advantage of that."

Work ethic is just another thing the Bucks have grown to love about the New York City product who was acquired from Toronto in June for point guard T.J. Ford.

What's interesting is that Ford is having a rough adjustment in Toronto and the fans, many of whom blasted the organization for taking Villanueva with the No. 7 pick two years ago, ripped the Raptors for trading Villanueva, who averaged 13 points and 6.4 rebounds in 81 games, including 36 starts.

"When I first heard about the trade I was a little bit shocked and it caught me off guard," Villanueva, 22, said. "I didn't expect them to trade me after my first year but then I sat back and looked at the situation in Milwaukee and I was like, `Wow, this is a good situation. This is a team that made it to the playoffs last year, won 40 games and has a chance to go to the playoffs again and they traded their starting point guard for me.'"

Oh, he's wanted - and appreciated.

"I thought it was a move we needed," said Bucks guard Michael Redd. "He can score the ball and he's so versatile with his length on the defensive end as well. We know we needed him and we knew we had to give up something good to get something good so that's what happened."

"Charlie is going to fit in no matter where he is because he's such a smart player," said Nets guard Marcus Williams, who played with Villanueva at UConn in 2003-05. "Nobody really talks about that, but with all he can do, he outsmarts people out there, too, in the way he plays the game."

Villanueva is what Stotts calls "the new age four-man" because he's a skilled player who can operate inside and out but still has room to get better. He said he expects Villanueva to be a better rebounder. He expects him to be a better defender.

And, though he has the green light to launch, Stotts would like to see Villanova improve on his three-point shooting (6 of 22).

Villanueva nodded in agreement to each one of the coach's concerns.

"Every year I'm trying to get better," he said. "That's all I can ask for. Last year, I averaged 13 and six and this year I'm trying to average more points, more rebounds, more blocked shots, more assists, play better defense. I'm just trying to get better every year."
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