One of the bigger question marks heading into this season was who was going to replace what Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons gave the Iowa Basketball team last season. Two experienced seniors that have played a bunch of games in a Hawkeye uniform are not easy to replace. But it's going to be the lengthy Decatur, IL product, Christian Williams.
Williams and Fran McCaffery came to a decision last fall that Williams was not going to redshirt. He served as the teams third point guard and got valuable minutes late in the year when he proved he could give the Hawkeyes a boost off the bench.
His coming out party came on March 1st of this year at home against the Indiana Hoosiers. He played 12 minutes, scored eight points, hauled in three rebounds, and stole two passes to go along with it. He proved the his length is a problem for smaller players and proved that he simply isn't afraid to hoist up shots. He was 2-5 from the field and 4-5 from the free throw line in that game.
He scored eight points in the remaining four games playing single digit minutes in each, but he gave the Hawkeye faithful and Fran McCaffery a look at who was going to be running this offense come the fall.
Well, here we are and Williams is in line to start this Friday against the Kennesaw State Owls in the season opener. He started last Friday against Regis in an exhibition contest and played well. He scored 11 points, had 5 assists, and 3 rebounds in 23 minutes and also did not turn the ball over at all.
He played under control, didn't try to do too much, and took advantage of what was given to him. It's only one game and it was an exhibition game against Regis, but Williams did not play like a first year starting point guard.
He isn't going to shoot a lot of three pointers, but likely won't be called upon to do so. With Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon the primary shooters, Williams will be asked to simply find open shooters. He's going to be able to use his length and quickness to get the rim, which he did several times last Friday night. One area that I believe he will thrive is in the 13-17 foot range. He showed off a nice jumper along the baseline in the first half in which he took one dribble, pulled up and buried a short jumper. This shot is going to be crucial to Williams' success this year.
I am intrigued by the possibility of Williams playing on the floor at the same time as Bohannon and Jok mainly because it opens up lanes for Williams to drive and kick if a defender helps off of a shooter. If no help comes, he'll have the opportunity to finish at the rim or find one of Iowa's freakishly athletic forwards.
Williams is going to be a key cog in the machine this year for McCaffery and Iowa. And if he plays well Iowa has a chance to do some really nice things this winter and possibly into the spring.null