Honka’s got a full deck of players

Honka has concluded their negotiations with the last foreign help. The team found what they were looking for in the 24-year-old and 203-centimetre tall Jason Williams, who joined the team this week. Williams averaged 14,6 points and 12 rebounds in the 40 games he played for Des Moines Dragons in the professional IBA-league in 2000-01 season. He had Lonnie Cooper who came to Honka mid-season last year, as teammate in Des Moines. Both Williams and Cooper were elected for IBA’s all-stars line-up in the end of the regular season.

Williams turned pro in 1999 after playing in the Pacific University’s team in NCAA university series, where he finished on top of both scored points (av.16.7 per game) and rebounds (12.0 per game) in his final year. He spent the summer of 2000 playing in the Australian ABA-league. Rest of the season, after Australia and Des Moines, he played in the US ABA-league.

– Jason is a good player and a great guy. He is a real hard worker and his rebounding is excellent. Jason was the league’s best player for positions 4 and 5 when we played together in the IBA last season, says Lonnie Cooper of his then-and-now -teammate.

Head coach Mihailo Pavicevic expects a lot of his new protege, but is more reserved in his comments. Praises can wait till the man has proven himself.

– We can be very happy, if Williams is capable of similar statistics as he was last season. His most important task here is the rebound-game. He is no colossus, but there are more important qualities necessary for fighting for rebounds than height.

Although Honka now has all contract papers signed, the team wont be complete until late September when Phillip Jones finishes his stint in the New-Zealander national team and arrives in Finland. The season’s first official games start on Saturday September 8th, when championship league teams join the Finnish Cup. The championship league (Finnish Basketball league) tips off three weeks later, on September 29th and 30th with a double round.

Honka Playboys in 2001-02 season:


Erkko Anttila (18 years, 186 cm), Lonnie Cooper (USA, 25 years, 193 cm), Jukka Hemdahl (22 years, 195 cm), Markus Hemdahl (24 years, 202 cm), Phillip Jones (New-Zealand/GBR, 27 year, 195 cm), Claes Kaarni (18 years, 189 cm), Ville Keskisaari (19 years, 199 cm), Jukka Matinen (21 years, 203 cm), Roope Mäkelä (27 years, 188 cm), Patrik Wikberg (17 years, 195 cm), Jason Williams (USA, 24 years, 203 cm), Heikki Zitting (23 years, 200 cm) and Tuukka Vuorinen (17 years, 194 cm).

Head coach:

Mihailo Pavicevic (Yugoslavia)

Assistant coach:

Jyrki Suhonen

Coach in charge of physical training:

Vesa Surenkin

Team doctor:

Jaakko Salava

Support and maintenance:

Jukka Lajunen


Markus Pitkänen

Team manager:

Jouni Näätänen