The starter at small forward this season will be 6-foot-7 sophomore Rodney Williams Jr. A highly touted recruit from Robbinsdale-Cooper High School, Williams only played 11.9 minutes per game last season, averaging just 4.3 points per game.
As a starter, Williams will be looked to as a go-to player this season. Williams is best known for his leaping and dunking ability which help him get some easy baskets on the break.
During the preseason, Williams looked to have developed his game, including shooting more confidently from deep and putting the ball on the floor and trying to get to the hoop. If he can shoot a higher percentage from the field while adding diversity to his game, Williams could easily be the most improved player on the team.
One area of growth will need to be at the defensive end. Last season, Williams seemed to take some possessions off on defense until there was an opportunity for a blocked shot. Thus far, he seems committed to staying on his guy and playing solid defense.
Williams is the biggest question mark in the Gophers' lineup but could prove to a breakout star this season.
The Gophers seemingly only have one reserve at small forward due to the fact the Oto Osenieks and Chris Halvorson will be unable to play this season. Freshman Austin Hollins from Memphis could be a player who steps in to fill the void.
At 6-foot-4, Hollins has good size to compliment his excellent athleticism. He is a quick player as well as an explosive leaper which should help him on both ends of the floor. He appears to have a good stroke from three and has shown little hesitation in letting it fly.
If Williams struggles at any time this season, Hollins looks poised to step in and help the Gophers off the bench.
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