Profile | Billy Owens, victim of hype

At the age of eight, Billy Owens decided his future. He went to find his father who was leading the training of a team of children. “Hello dad, I’m going to be a professional basketball player!”

Fall 1991. Fourteen years later, Eugene Williams Owens is close to achieving his goal. With a 2.06m for 102kg, broad, well-rounded shoulders, rolled hips and big hands, Owens, No. 3 in the draft the previous spring, could play anywhere. 2, 3, 4… ‘It’s a real deal’announces Jerry Reynolds, General Manager and Kings coach who compares him to the greatest and even…Magic Johnson.

“There is only one magic, Owens says. But it is true that I was inspired a lot by his game.

Owens was born on May 1, 1969 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of Jim Thorpe, the 1912 Olympic decathlon winner who later became a baseball and football legend. The youngest in a family of three boys and two girls, he saw his father, Billy Sr., doing three jobs to support his clan. Bailey inherited his practical spirit and diligence. The 18-year-old son of Owens knew how to avoid the most common mistakes of his generation. “I want to have fun but also prepare for the future of my son and my family.”

From an early age, he used his abilities to the fullest and always refused to fail. “I hate losing. Just ask my older brother. We often give each other cupcakes for Nintendo games… My dad is also a painful loser. He would take pocket money from me with every defeat!”

A star in Syracuse

At Carlisle High School, Bailey lost only 11 of his 129 games. Wilt Chamberlain. During his senior year, Owens averaged 34 points. Four times in a row, Carlisle will be crowned the state champion. At that time, two high school students returned to all discussions: Alonzo Morning and Billy Owens. They also ended up participating in the McDonald’s All-American Player of the Year. Owens chooses Syracuse University where he meets Derek Coleman. Passed in the NBA, Coleman was named a rookie in 1991. Bailey was elected Player of the Year by the Big East Conference and “All America” ​​unanimously. His stats attest to his slaying: 23.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 against.

“If he’s not the best, he’s close to him plus he knows how to make others play”says Jim Boehm, head coach of Syracuse.

“It’s hard to find fault with him. Its strength is to be able to play everywhere »confirms Bucky Buckwalter, Trail Blazers captain.

“Has Buck Williams stature (note: 4 former Nets, Trailblazers and Knicks) and Clyde Drexler features”concludes Jerry Reynolds, his new coach.

For many GMs, Owens, 22 at the time, was the best producer to come out of the draft. However, there were rumors of heart problems. He was also criticized for his somewhat plump body. Serious tests prove that appearances are deceptive. The Hornets, who take advantage of the first option, still prefer Larry Johnson, of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. They justify themselves by highlighting the great qualities of the recoil within UNLV. The Nets, who have the second option, change their mind at the last minute and take on the country kid, New Yorker Kenny Anderson (formerly Georgia Tech). The Sacramento leaders can’t believe their eyes: Owens is always available… He’s achieved practically everything he did during his three years in Syracuse, except for participating in the NCAA Finals. He took the bronze medal with the USA at the 1990 World Championships. His first professional challenge would be to come to terms with defeat. The Kings haven’t played in the playoffs since 1986 and hold the title of worst attacking NBA title they can’t envy. Bailey was called up to form an ambitious tandem with Lionel Simmons, the second best junior player in 1991.

Draft night moved

“Pipen and Jordan complement each other perfectly. They do what their team needs at the right time. That’s what we expect from Billy and Lionel”Jerry Reynolds comments.

It should be noted that Owens is in the crosshairs. He left Syracuse a year before the end of his college studies, explaining that he was “tired and bored with student life.” Gossip says Bailey left before possible sanctions from the NCAA. Syracuse is still under investigation following newspaper reports in December 1990. The team allegedly supplied some players, including Coleman and Owens, with cash, cars and all kinds of benefits prohibited by law. One player also claimed that coaches had changed Owens’ notes to allow him to keep his place on the Orange Men… Owens had been overheard by investigators. Once he became a professional, he refused to answer questions. Some prospects didn’t manage to leave the academic cocoon (right, Matin Cliffs?). Owens knows what he wants. a while ago. At the time of the draft, he made a match against Larry Johnson. Larry imposed himself. He was wearing basketball shoes and Billy was wearing running shoes.

Since then, Bailey has continued to assert: “I will get my revenge. I will be the rookie of the year.” Lost ! With an average of 19.2 points, 11 rebounds and 3.6 assists, “Grandmama” would comfortably be chosen as the best rookie. Worse: Sacramento’s confidence was shattered the day Golden State offered to trade Billy Owens for Mitch Richmond, the Warriors’ second-best scorer with 23.9 points per game.

On November 1, 1991, the number 3 in the enlistment was sent to the warriors … who were still biting their fingers. With Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullen, Golden State has a trio — “Run TMC” (for Tim, Mitch, and Chris) — that are absolutely hellish. All three players exceed 22 points per game. Hardaway and Mullen are all-stars. Warriors have a shining attack, as amazing as possible. But she did not survive the exclusion in the conference semi-final against the Lakers (4-1). Auckland often dominates the interior. The Californian franchise wants to strengthen its racket, even if it means sacrificing one of the most prolific trios in history. The Warriors set their sights on Billy Owens.

His rookie season is just right (14.3 points, 8 rebounds, 2.4 weight, 1.1 intensity). In the role of the sixth man, Lithuanian rear Sarunas Marciulionis made an unexpected contribution (18.9 points on average). Golden State collects 55 wins and ranks third in the Western Conference. But Hurricane Shawn Kemp passes… In the first round of the playoffs, Seattle barely trembled (3-1). Golden State is very disappointed that Owens is not bringing in the expected indoor presence. He’s a little striker who likes to get out of the way to enjoy shooting, not a strong wingman who goes to the coals to do the dirty work…

We laugh at the scout reports that dared bring him closer to Larry Bird. The following year, the Warriors finished the penultimate stage in their group with 34 victories. Owens injured his knee, and played only 37 games. The appearance of the duo of Latrell Sprywell and Chris Webber in 1993-1994 opened up interesting prospects, especially since Tim Hardaway spent the year in the hospital with a torn knee ligament (Avery Johnson is acting). The team signs its return to the playoffs (which Phoenix swept in the first round) but behind the scenes, a storm was brewing. Don Nelson and Chris Webber’s relationship is ugly. To connect Owens and Webber, “Nellie” is obligated to change the second hub in the hub. ‘C-Webb’ has a very mild taste for its role as Admiral Nelson’s Variable Geometry Systems.

To alleviate the situation, the latter sent Owens to Miami against American-Lebanese interlocutor Ronnie Seikali. Bad account because Webber, upset, will decide despite everything to pack his bags, direct Washington … For Billy, a long journey began, made even more painful by the impossibility of being 100% and thus becoming the basketball player he was. .

General in Miami. General in Sacramento. Back to Florida. Two seasons with the kings. As an icon in Seattle, Philadelphia, Golden State, Detroit…when he starts, Owens scores 10 to 14 points. But the greater possibility that NBA recruits drool over the side of the Swiss Army Knife will never be more of a vague supporting role.

His career in Michigan would end in 2001, then he took over the management of Rutgers University, Camden small, in Division III, where he would be an assistant for 17 years. Three years ago, Kevin Durant explained that his first role model was Billy Owens.

Today, Owens is following the career of his son, Chaz, a sophomore at… Syracuse. certainly.


12 years

600 matches (start 475 times)

11.7 pt, 6.7 pt, 2.8 pt, 0.95 international count, 0.54 carats

48.1% on shots, 29.1% on 3 points, 62.9% on free shots

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