As Indiana Pacers forward Shawne Williams jogged off the court during a timeout in the second half of Monday's preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Stephen Jackson stopped him and gave him some advice.
Then Jeff Foster stopped Williams and gave the rookie out of Memphis some tidbits. Darrell Armstrong, a 12-year veteran, also dropped a little bit of knowledge on Williams at one point.
Williams is three games into his first NBA preseason and he has quickly realized he's no longer in Conference USA.
The game is quicker. Players are stronger. And your weaknesses are easily exploited.
"Phew," Williams said after scoring six points and committing four fouls in 14 minutes in the Pacers' 103-87 loss. "The speed is tremendous. The strength is something else, too. It's men out there. There are guys who have arms bigger than my legs."
The 20-year-old Williams was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year in his only season at Memphis. Pacers president Larry Bird said he was pleased Williams was available with the 17th overall pick in the draft.
The talent is there for Williams. Pacers officials have talked about the one-on-one battles he had with Danny Granger and Al Harrington during the summer. But at the same time, it's clear it will take time before Williams is ready to be a steady contributor for the Pacers.
There are times Williams gets ahead of himself instead of letting the game come to him.
"I took two timeouts (Monday) to get him to calm down and to point out some things he was making mistakes on," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "A lot of his mistakes are things where he's getting ahead of himself. That comes with experience and gets better with experience. It's good he's getting the opportunity to get out there and find out what it's about."
Part of Williams' problem is that he's trying to learn both forward positions. Carlisle said the Pacers envision Williams as a small forward down the road.
"He has the tools to play both positions effectively, as does (Danny) Granger," Carlisle said. "That's the reason we're so excited about him. He's going through some growing pains, and it's not easy when you're getting your rear end beaten out there the way those guys were. But that's how you learn."
Williams is averaging 4.3 points and shooting 31 percent from the field in about 15 minutes per game through the first three preseason contests.
"It's one of those situations where he has to really focus," forward Jermaine O'Neal said. "It's not college. I told him he's young, he's a rookie and rookies are going to make mistakes. The key for him is to get better each and every day."
Williams has remained upbeat through his ups and downs by turning to veteran teammates.
"That's all they want to do, is help," he said. "They're always telling me things. It's not only when I mess up; it's when I do something right. That's key. I'm a competitor and I like it.
"The best thing about this is I'm not feeling miserable about things. It's all a learning experience. I'm only 20 and it's a transition for me going from college to the NBA."