T-Will emerging as Cards new star during NIT

There's a new star emerging for the Louisville Cardinals late in the 2005-06 season. With one star – Taquan Dean – nearing the end of a brilliant career, a new one appears ready to take his place. Louisville fans, meet the new and improved, Terrence Williams.

There's a new star emerging for the Louisville Cardinals late in the 2005-06 season.

With one star – Taquan Dean – nearing the end of a brilliant career, a new one appears ready to take his place. Louisville fans, meet Terrence Williams.

Yes, this is the same Williams who has played major minutes for the Cardinals all season; but this isn't the same Williams. This is a much improved, and more well-rounded Terrence Williams.

The 6-6 Williams has scored in double figures in six of Louisville's last eight games, including 14 points in the Cardinals 74-56 win over Missouri State in the National Invitational Tournament quarterfinals.

Besides scoring more points than he did earlier this season, Williams has expanded his game in the post-season. He's shooting better from the perimeter, crashing the boards, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates, and playing stifling defense.

Consider these numbers. Williams made 4-6 three's Wednesday night against the Bears, just one less than Missouri State made as a team. He also helped Louisville gain control on the backboard, grabbing five rebounds from his small forward position. T-Will also made plays for his teammates, dishing out 6 of the Cardinals 19 assists. On defense, Williams was a major reason why the Cardinals held Missouri State to just 27 percent shooting for the game, getting five steals and blocking a shot.

"I think Terrence Williams is going to be a very gifted player," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "He reminds me a lot of Antoine Walker in his skill level. The more that he penetrates and passes, the better we become because he has great vision. He understands the game."

Pitino has also noticed the maturation of Williams' game in recent weeks.

"In the first half of the season he was hunting the three-point shot, and it didn't make much sense," Pitino explained. "Now he's becoming a complete basketball player.

Once known primarily for his thunderous dunks and extraordinary leaping ability, Terrence Williams is proving with his recent play that there's much more to his ever-expanding game.


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