Top Ten most influential: Pete Williams will count down the top ten most influential players in Arizona history. Read on for a closer look at number eight Pete Williams.

The role a player filled in advancing the Arizona program was the biggest factor in judging the most consequential UA basketball players since the beginning of the Olson era. Players who helped build the program before it became a national entity were given special consideration. Consideration was also given to a player's role in building a school legacy, memorable performances, obstacles overcome, professional success, local ties, and philanthropic efforts.

8. Pete Williams

6-foot-7, 190-pounds

Mount San Antonio Junior College

Pre UA

Williams chose Arizona over Colorado and TCU.

UA Career

1983-84: Jr. (11-17 overall record) 8th Pac-10

14.5 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 60 Field Goal Percentage

Regular Season : Williams immediately became the best player on Olson's first UA team. He led the team in scoring, rebounding, and set the tone for team toughness.

Though the Wildcats finished near the bottom of the Pac-10 standings, progress was made throughout the season, as evidenced by UA's first win in five years over a ranked opponent. Williams scored 18 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in the watershed victory against Oregon State and its star big man A.C. Green.

Williams' contributions, even on a sub-par team, did not go unnoticed as he was named to the All Pac-10 team.

1984-85: Sr. (21-10 overall record) 3rd Pac-10

12.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 60 Field Goal Percentage

Regular Season: Olson's Wildcats were much better in year two due to the improvement of returning players and the infusion of another recruiting class.

Unlike previous years, UA was competitive against every ranked team it played, and received more acclaim in the process, placing multiple players -Williams, and senior forward Eddie Smith- on the all-conference team for the first time in six years.

Postseason : The No. 10 seed Wildcats lost to 7 seed Alabama in the first round, but no one was crying in Tucson because a truly remarkable turn of events had unfolded over the last two seasons.


  • 1983-84 All-Pac-10 Team

  • 1984-85 All-Pac-10 Team

  • 9.9 rebounding average was the best of any Lute Olson or Sean Miller coached team

    Post UA

  • 1985 NBA Draft. Rd 4 Overall 89th ( Denver Nuggets)

  • Played in 58 games spanning 2 seasons

    Role in Building Program: Williams was the backbone of Olson's effort to rebuild a humiliated program fresh off a 4-24 season. His relentless effort, rebounding, and scoring were all vital for a team with a glaring lack of inside talent.

    Williams wasn't one of the 10 best players in UA history, nor did he play on one of the top 10 teams, but few players in program history helped spearhead a sharper upward trajectory of the basketball program.

    Williams Is Number 8… because he was the player most responsible for Olson's initial transformation of the program.

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