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Words from 12-year-old hit home for Williams

Leave it to a 12-year-old to knock some sense into Terrence Williams.

While the Nets’ second-year guard was relegated to a three-game stint in D-League purgatory as punishment by his head coach, Avery Johnson, for being repeatedly late to practices, shootarounds and meetings, he received some harsh words from one of the Springfield Armor ballboys that really hit home.

“I started the first game,” Williams recalled to the Newark Star-Ledger. “I was like [to the ballboy], ‘Do you watch the NBA?’ He said, ‘Yeah, you’re one of the players I [like to] watch. Why would you blow it?’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘Why would you want to have an attitude, and be late – the simplest things you can control? And you get to be in the NBA? I would die to do that, so don’t blow it.’

"That’s a 12-year-old telling me that,'' Williams said."So I think that, and my mom crying [on the phone, asking me if I got kicked out of the NBA forever] was what really got to me. So down there, I decided to take everything serious, like I was here, as far as practicing and playing in a game.''

Williams, who averaged 28 points, 11.3 assists and 10.7 assists for the Armor, was promoted back up to the Nets and will be in the rotation Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks. And he claims he’s learned his lesson.

“There definitely was an awakening,” he said. “It woke me up a lot. I’m not going to sit here and give you the typical answers -- everybody that goes to the D-League and comes back says, ‘Yeah, I understood my lesson.’ When I say I understood my lesson, I truly mean that, in the most sincere way, that I really understood going down there and it definitely woke me up, and hopefully helps my career in the long run.

“I definitely understand what Avery did -- and I appreciate it.”