Talent Assessment: Devaugntah Williams

The fifth of (at least) six breakdowns detailing the talents of Texas Tech's 2014 basketball signing class. Just what can Red Raider fans expect from the Missouri State-West Plains junior college transfer?

Texas Tech's greatest weakness last season was probably its inability to generate offense. Tubby Smith's troops just didn't have enough weapons to stress the opposition's defense. But Smith and staff have gone a long way toward remedying that deficiency by signing Missouri State-West Plains shooting guard Devaugntah Williams.

The 6-foot-3 200 pounder from Canton, Ohio will definitely add some sizzle to the Red Raider attack. He led the Missouri State-West Plains Grizzlies in scoring with 18 points per game last season, and it is no stretch to think that he could easily lead Tech in that department this upcoming season.

Simply put, Williams is a handful on offense. In what should be music to the ears of all Red Raider fans, Williams is both an excellent outside shooter, and he has the ability to create his own shot. Last season he shot 39 percent from three-point range, and did not have to rely on screens to get off those deep jumpers.

To begin with, there's a lot of playground to Williams' game. He's got a vast array of moves, the ability to change direction at the drop of a dime, goes strong to both the left and right, and has plenty of burst to get by defenders. He also uses the hesitation dribble to good effect.

Because Williams is such a threat to penetrate, and is so difficult to contain, he can easily create space to shoot that deadly jump shot. He's also adept at shooting the step-back jumper, which makes him even tougher to defend.

As anybody who paid attention to the college game last season recognized, the rule changes that clamped down on physical perimeter defense leant a tremendous advantage to teams with slashing, penetrating guards. Such players either finish their penetration with buckets or by drawing fouls. Last season Texas Tech had no players who could reliably get to the hoop.

That all changes with the addition of Williams. He gets into the paint or down the baseline with ease. With his muscular frame, Williams can absorb contact and still convert. He also keeps his head up and his eyes on the hoop when on a foray down the lane. Consequently Tech will have at least one player who can do for it what Shabazz Napier did for Connecticut this past season.

Two things to watch with Williams will be free throw shooting and shot selection. Williams shot 69 percent from the charity stripe last year, which is not bad, but for a guy who will likely get fouled a great deal, Williams needs to get that percentage over 70 percent.

In the JUCO ranks last season Williams shot 44 percent from the field. That is a mediocre number. And it's clear from the fact that he shot 39 percent from deep that shooting accuracy was not the problem. Rather, poor shot selection was probably the culprit. If indeed that is the case, Tubby Smith will definitely iron that wrinkle out of Williams' game. And when he does, Tech will finally have a true go-to guard of its own.


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