Mike Williams is significantly more dangerous than his 24 percent shooting clip as a freshman implies, and he is ready to prove it for Rutgers this season.
Williams earned a Rutgers scholarship offer early in head coach Eddie Jordan’s tenure because of his precision as a jump shooter and all-around athleticism. And after freshman inconsistencies in the Big Ten, he expects to showcase a new Mike Williams in three weeks.
“Last year, I felt like I put too much muscle on, and my shot was off,” Williams said. “This year I’ve been in the gym so much more. I spent so much time here in the offseason. I’ve been working to get my shot even better than what it was in high school. I’m almost there.”
Eleven starts and 6.3 points per game as a freshman was unsatisfactory for Williams after an elite high school career in New York.
Williams put himself to work with a bigger role expected after Myles Mack’s departure in the backcourt.
“I’ve worked a whole lot,” Williams said. “I’m always in the gym. I’m getting my feet under me because, last year, I used to fade a lot. I would rush it, but this year I’m taking my time with my shot to set my feet. I’m starting to make a lot more shots.”
Williams signed with Rutgers after a career of accolades at New York Bishop Loughlin, but an All-City senior season was not close to the competition he faced in the Big Ten.
Jordan and the rest of the Rutgers staff worked often with the 6-foot-2 Williams, who is more confident as a sophomore.
“This is so much more fun,” Williams said after a preseason practice at the RAC. “Last year, I was a little bit confused. I didn’t know what to expect from the college game. I was familiar with it, but I didn’t know how different it would be from high school. Since I have a year under my belt and I’m more experienced, this year should be a lot more fun.”
Williams cannot wait to showcase the new Rutgers offense. After a move away from the “Princeton stuff,” Jordan’s new offensive system better fits the roster, Williams said.
“We’re going to get off a lot more shots, especially because everybody is looking for one another,” Williams said. “Run and gun is like I’m taking street ball and putting it into a system. I like that. I think it fits me. I like making reads and making plays. I think everybody likes what we’re doing and finding the open guy for a shot.”