8. Pete Williams
Mount San Antonio Junior College
Williams chose Arizona over Colorado and TCU.
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.
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.