Being a leader doesn't always come easy.
But let's face it, on a team filled with young talent and unproven skill, the qualities and wisdom that a veteran can offer are not just invaluable but necessary.
After a year at Texas and three years on the Hilltop, redshirt senior Shawn Williams has seen and played a lot of basketball.
But this year, Williams carries a charge from none other than Larry Brown himself, who approached him personally with expectations high and confidence even higher.
"For me, I have to become more of a vocal leader," Williams said. "Pulling young guys to the side and getting them to do the right things and showing them the right way to go about things and getting in the film room more so I can learn not only for myself but for everybody else."
Since his arrival at SMU, Williams has seen a number of teammates and coaches come and go but never has he been more optimistic about the talent that his team possesses. Williams says there's just something different about this team.
"Now it looks like a real college as far as the aspect of having a lot of good players," Williams said. "It's not just five or six, there are twelve or thirteen legitimate solid guys."
Last season, it was no secret that depth contributed to the collapse of the basketball season after a blazing hot start from the Mustangs. With there being a significant drop off in talent when the starters left the floor, SMU failed to keep up with its conference opponents in the latter half of the season.
But this year, depth ceases to be an issue.
"The cream of the crop rises to the top and competition pushes you to be better," Williams said. "I think we have a talented freshman class with Yanick (Moreira). Sky's the limit for all of them. They all play hard and are very talented so we're looking forward to the season."
Williams thinks that the overall progression of the team is attributed to Brown and rightly so. But the 6-foot-7, 230-pounder also praised the coaches on staff underneath the Hall-of-Famer working hard out of the spotlight.
"I think we have the perfect coaching staff," Williams said. "In college, this is the third coaching staff I've played under and by it's by far the best with the head man having been around for so long and having coached so many great players it's great to learn from him.
"But also the assistants are all so knowledgeable as well. Coach (Tim) Jankovich is a great guy, great coach, really smart and Coach Ulric (Maligi) and KT (Turner) have been around too so they're pretty good also."
Williams was unsatisfied with his play last season not solely because of his stat line but more so because of the team's 15-17 record.
This season, his only wish is that the team operates at a consistent level of 100 percent and plays as well as he knows they can.
"Obviously, our goal is to win a national championship but reaching our maximum potential as a team is my goal," Williams said. "To be the best team that we can be – and wherever that tops out at, that's where it tops out."
Getting To Know Shawn
Hoops Feature: Shawn Williams
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