The long-range shot proved elusive for Williams during his start to preseason camp. And then the lights came one.
“I was surprised Mike Williams was missing a lot of shots until practice 10,” Jordan said. “Then he started [making them]. We had people in the stands in the Court Club and he started making shots. It’s better him making shots when people are in the stands than … the other way around. It was surprising that he missed so many, but he’s just a freshman. He was just trying to [find] his way, but everything is back to normal now.”
Williams’ first chance in front of the fans proved a difference maker, and built confidence.
“I guess that’s the trick,” Williams said on having a paying audience. “I’m from Brooklyn, so you know we like to showboat.”
Showmanship is always welcome, but there is more to it than that in Williams finding his shot.
Out of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Bishop Loughlin where he was a 1,000-point scorer, Williams said the real adjustment came with improved strength and conditioning.
Williams enrolled at Rutgers in June, where he began offseason workouts with the team.
“My first week was a little rough because I was doing so much in the weight room,” Williams said. “I got a little bit stronger and I guess I was pushing my shots a little bit too much. After the weeks went by, I got my touch back.”
Not a projected starter, Williams can expect a significant role off the bench as a freshman. Behind starters Myles Mack and Bishop Daniels, Williams is the only scholarship ball handler on the roster.
“I have to work a lot,” Williams said on playing point guard. “Last year I had a point guard who was pretty much running the show and I was just able to do my thing. I’m not one of the bigger guys here, so I have to run the point. I have to work on my handles, my decision making.
“Over the course of our practices, I see myself getting stronger and more confident with it. Coach Jordan very helpful for me. He was a point guard and was great here. He has a lot of NBA experience, so him giving me pointers on what to do is like another father because my dad did the same thing when I was younger.”
Williams makes his official Rutgers debut in front of fans Saturday in a scrimmage against Baruch College.
“I can’t wait to see how I measure up against the best of the best,” Williams said. “This isn’t high school.”