Troy Williams was special during stretches of his freshman season, average during others.
Williams had highlight dunks throughout the season, but he often struggled on the defensive end and play out of control on offense.
All in all, though, it was a solid campaign for Williams. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. It was certainly a year to build on.
Williams returns for his sophomore season a stronger and even more athletic version of his former self. He's added five inches to his vertical leap in just over a year, a remarkable feat considering he was already an athletic specimen when he arrived in Bloomington.
Oladipo, now a starter for the Orlando Magic, returns to Bloomington often during the offseason, and Williams said he has had conversations with Oladipo about making a similar jump as a player.
“What I can learn from him is the jump he made from freshman to junior year," Williams said Monday. "Everybody’s been talking about how I made a jump from freshman year to sophomore year, and we always talk about that. And we talk about how people at the next level don’t just look at what you do on the court, they care mostly about your character and what you do off the court. They know everything.”
If Williams is to make an Oladipo-esque jump this season, he will have to make significant improvements in a couple of key areas.
1. He must play more under control and cut down on the turnovers. Williams averaged nearly two turnovers in 21 minutes per game as a freshman, which sometimes forced Tom Crean to keep him on the bench down the stretch. You don't want to take away from his playmaking ability, but Williams must find a way to harness it and make smarter decisions with the ball.
2. Williams must put an emphasis on his defense, specifically his 1-on-1 defense. He was a poor defender last year, and teams often took advantage of it. Wisconsin ran plays that put Williams on an island because of his difficulty in guarding 1-on-1. Williams can become a better-than-average defender, but he must really work at it.
3. Lastly, Williams must shoot the ball better from the perimeter. He shot just 20.7 percent from beyond the arc a season ago, and defenders started to sag off of him and force him to shoot. If Williams can show the ability to knock down a perimeter shot like Oladipo did, he will get so many easy baskets because the driving lanes will open up. If he isn't all that improved from the outside, it'll be important that Williams doesn't continue to force those shots and instead focus on his strengths.
Personally, I think Williams will make a big jump this year. Indiana was picked to finish 9th in the Big Ten by the writers, but I don't think a lot of people around the country understand how good Williams can be. Everybody knows about Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. because he was a McDonald's All-American, but Williams can be really, really good.Mosquera-Perea: 'I have a lot to accomplish'
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