Williams came to Bloomington as a pure athlete, a guy with a lanky body, an incredible vertical and highlight dunking ability. Oladipo came in the same way, a player who relied on athleticism and had a lot to learn about the game of basketball.
“When he gets to the rim - and Victor went through this,” Coach Tom Crean said at Monday’s media availability. “I reminded (Troy) and the whole team of this yesterday and you can see it on the film, Victor went through the same thing. They go to the rim as athletes, rather than as basketball players.
“When you're really, really athletic like Troy, you have to continue to get them to understand how fundamental they have to be, and not just rely on athleticism.”
Williams didn’t play particularly well in Tuesday’s loss to Louisville, shooting just 3-of-8 from the floor and turning the ball over three times. He drove to the hoop with no control and tried to make plays that just weren’t there.
“There’s no question he needs to slow down at times,” Crean said. “But he’s capable of playing sped up, and the simpler he makes the game the better he will be. We’re asking him to do a lot on this team, but the simpler he makes it, the better he gets defensively, the better he gets on the backboards.”
Crean said that court awareness is one aspect of the game that Williams and the rest of the team still need to improve. Williams drove to the hoop with his head down too many times against Louisville, leading to bad, erratic layup attempts.
“When you attack the basket, you want to have a clear vision,” Crean said. “You can’t pre-determine what’s going to happen. You want to have a clear vision, not tunnel vision, and too many times we went to the rim with tunnel vision.
“You’ve got to understand where the shot blockers are, how to keep the possession alive or get by the initial wave of defense a little bit quicker.”
Williams has still shown plenty of improvement this season. All of his stats have improved. He’s averaging 11.9 points at 57.9 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. That’s better than his averages of 7.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 0.8 steals per game as a freshman.
“One of the strengths of this program is to take athletes and make them better basketball players and to take basketball players and make them better athletes,” Crean said. “Troy has a chance to be outstanding in both. But, he's got to continue to work at all those things that matter the most, which is getting to the glass, defending, running the court consistently, running to the glass.”
Williams plays a big role on this team, and his continued improvement could be a big piece to the Hoosiers’ playing games come March.
“The simpler he makes the game, the better he'll be,” Crean said about Williams. “We're asking him to do a lot on this team. He can do a lot for this team.”Mosquera-Perea struggles to find consistency
VIDEO: Blackmon dunks on Montrezl Harrell
5 Things: Louisville 94, Indiana 74