When Louisville landed the commitment of five-star power forward Malik Williams there was a lot of excitement around the program. Williams, despite not playing on a major AAU circuit, opened a lot of eyes and showed that he had McDonald’s All-American potential. Now as a senior he continues to show what he is capable of.
At the FORUM Tip Off Classic Williams had a chance to match up with potential high-major 2017 power forward Zach Gunn, and he showed very well for himself. For the game Williams finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocked shots in his team’s losing effort.
While those no numbers are no doubt impressive, the performance still left you wanting more. That is both a good and bad thing, and it continues the story of Williams’ high school career.
A closer look at the numbers shows that Williams was 8-25 from the floor, and 4-12 from three. Obviously that isn’t as efficient as one would like to see, and clearly for a 6-foot-11 kid, Williams is spending too much time outside beyond the three point line.
The good thing is of those 12 deep triples attempted, Williams was able to make four, and honestly the stroke and release looked great. There is no reason to think that he won’t be a mid-to-upper 30’s three point shooter during his time in college, and at his height that is very impressive.
Also Williams’ 13 rebounds is good because he went against a team with a lot of size, and to go with those 13 rebounds he blocked five shots so he clearly impacted the game in a lot of ways.
So the next step for Williams is finding the balance between being someone who can make shots, and being someone who spends too much time roaming on the perimeter. At the end of the day he remains a very talented and gifted 6-foot-11 kid with good size, length, and touch who can score inside at will against most opponents.
When Williams does find that balance he becomes someone who is nearly impossible to guard. When used in pick and pop situations he can hit threes or attack bad close outs. When put on the block he can score as well, and then he is also a good shot blocker.
Despite all the talent and all the numbers, at this point Williams is still a bit of a “flash” type of player, who can disappear, but when he is locked in he is unstoppable. Finding that consistency might take a year or two, but when it comes, Williams is someone who has a chance to play basketball at the highest level for a long time.