From an appearance at Big Ten Basketball Media Day to a selfless bench role during the season, Mike Williams was ready to be a Rutgers basketball leader. Already a captain with his attitude, why not make it official?
"I think he earned it," Pikiell said. "He's been terrific in practice, in the locker room. He's taken any role that I've asked him to. He actually came to me and said 'Coach, if you need to change the starting lineup I'd love to come off the bench. I'm good.' You don't get that very often with players, especially at this level. Starting is very important to everybody. I thought it was time."
Williams leads by example with an embraced bench role, and works just as hard in the class room and locker room.
"Probably a couple of games ago, I knew that's what I wanted to do," Pikiell said. "I sat himm down and he was OK with the added responsibility. Things have been good and it helps DeShawn, too. It gives him another guy to bounce things off of."
Williams was unavailable for comment before Tuesday's practice because of an illness. Rutgers returns to action Thursday at 9 p.m. against Northwestern.