Iowa Hoops Off-Season Improvements: Christian Williams

As we get into the summer months, Hawkeye Insider will be taking a look at what the returning Hawkeyes need to do to improve their games before the season arrives in November. Today, we look at Christian Williams.

Williams will be a sophomore heading into the 2016-17 academic year and the winter basketball season.  Fran McCaffery made a decision not to redshirt the long, athletic point guard from Decatur, IL, which paid dividends in his true freshman season.

Williams came to Iowa unranked by Scout's recruiting rankings, but did have an impact for the Hawkeyes late in the year as they were faltering.  He appeared in 20 games as a true freshman, but broke out in a huge way during a March 1st loss to the Indiana Hoosiers inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  Williams finished that game with eight points, three rebounds, and a couple of steals in 12 minutes played.

He also showed he was not bashful in that game against Indiana, hoisting up six shots in those 12 minutes he was on the court.  He had an impact against Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament loss, albeit it was not a significant one.  

He then went on to score five points total in Iowa's two NCAA Tournament games.  Two against Temple and three against the eventual national champion Villanova Wildcats.  

I thought he showed some promise on the offensive end getting to the basket and finding open teammates and then being able to get in passing lanes on the defensive side.  While I think Williams had a solid freshman season, I don't know if he'll be ready to take the reigns as the starting point guard heading into 2016-2017, but I don't think he has a choice.

Barring anything significant in the fall from Jordan Bohannon, a true freshman, this is Williams' team.  I have heard some say maybe Peter Jok could handle the ball, but that shouldn't happen.  Jok is a 2 or 3 guard and needs to be off the ball looking for open shots off the drive and kick.  Jok would also expend more energy handling the ball. 

Williams will be working with young forwards in Ahmad Wagner and Tyler Cook, who will likely start in his true freshman season.  Wagner, like Williams, will be a sophomore next season. 

He was about as raw as they come over the course of last season, but I'm excited about what he brings to the table.  First of all, I like his length.  He's a legit 6'5" and most college point guards are going to be giving him a couple of inches.  You could even put him on taller guards in hopes that his length bothers them, whether it be on the shot or just getting the ball into their hands.  

I also like his aggressiveness.  He showed that he wasn't shy late last year and I would like to see more of that this season.  

As far as areas that will need a little work this summer/fall, I think the biggest one for me is becoming more efficient.  I know it wasn't a large sample size last year, but he only shot 9/28 as a whole, which is good for 32%.  Getting into the lane where he can elevate from 10-12 feet out would help a lot with that, along with regular playing time so he can get into more of a rhythm during the game.  He needs to use his length as an advantage against smaller defenders.

We didn't get to see much of him as a distributor last season, but he'll need to play a large role in that department next season.  Shooters like Jok, Bohannon, and Dale Jones will be looking for Christian to get them the ball out beyond the arc.  Jok doesn't need quite as much help because he's good at creating his own shot on the outside and doesn't exactly need a ton of time to get rid of it.  But the other guys will be relying on Christian to get them the rock.

There will always be room for a defensive improvement, especially because I think he could develop into one of the better defenders in the conference along the perimeter with how long and athletic he is.  There will be other guards that will match him in terms of his size,  but that should only make him better.

My guess is he takes his lumps in his sophomore season, but that will only get him ready for what will come at him during his final two seasons as a Hawkeye.

Hawkeye Insider Top Stories