Vet passes it on

Eric Williams - Raptor Eric Williams on bench tonight at game. (Fred Thornhill, Toronto Sun)

Eric Williams - Raptor Eric Williams on bench tonight at game. (Fred Thornhill, Toronto Sun)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Eric Williams remembers Canadian Rick Fox and Dee Brown giving him extra help sessions when he broke into the NBA way back in 1995.

Now, the little-used veteran forward has reversed roles and has Raptors rookie Charlie Villanueva as his student.

Williams has made it his business to play one-on-one with Villanueva after practices and before shoot-arounds. Williams must be doing something right. Villanueva had, arguably, his best game as a pro Friday with 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 99-97 win over the Indiana Pacers.

"It's good to see the young guys developing," Williams said after practice at the Air Canada Centre yesterday. "I had guys trying to develop myself coming in. (Villanueva) is going to always bring his own game. But at the same time he can learn from a vet who has been around for 10 years playing against Michael Jordan and some of the top players like Reggie Miller. I'm just trying to give him a little more education on the defensive end and help out his offensive game."

Williams has told Villanueva he is at his best when he is doing the dirty work and that was evident Friday. Villanueva was a force under the glass at both ends of the floor and kept possessions alive. The double-double was the fourth of his rookie season.

To be a double-double guy, he's got to stay out of foul trouble," Williams said. "But he has got the capabilities. He has got the leaping ability to get 10 rebounds and he has got the scoring ability to get 10-plus points. He can be a double-double guy like Chris Bosh. That's a superstar. That's good that he can see Chris Bosh and learn from him at the same time."

Villanueva figures it is beneficial for him to work with a guy -- Williams -- who has been known as a defensive specialist.

"He definitely has helped me," Villanueva said. "I think he's a great defender. He has been around the league for 10, 11 years now. Going against him every day in practice and in one-on-ones is just going to make me a better player. It's going to make him a better player as well, guarding a good offensive player. We're helping each other out."

But he and Villanueva have their differences when it comes to another subject -- who is leading their one-on-one series.

"Of course, I win most of the time," Williams said. "I'm just as strong and if he puts the ball down in front of me, I've got a good chance to contest his shots."

Villanueva sees things a little differently.

"He doesn't win," Villanueva said. "Let's get that right. I win most of the time."

The Raptors have a rare day off work today. They will return to the practice floor tomorrow in Atlanta and will face the Hawks Tuesday.


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