Williams stars in McDonald's Invitational

The Duncanville Panthers are the #1 basketball team in the country. With that lofty status come tough expectations. On the first day of the 2008 McDonald's Texas Invitational played in Houston and Pasadena, Duncanville came out firing showing exactly why they are not only the team to beat in the country. Future Texas Longhorn Shawn Williams led the way for the Panthers on Thursday.

The 2008 McDonald's Texas Invitation tipped-off on Thursday morning featuring as impressive of a field of teams as one will see this year. Teams from around the state of Texas and Louisiana converged on Houston and Pasadena forming an impressive field that includes DeSoto, Kingwood, San Antonio Madison, Hightower plus many others including the nation's #1 team.

The Panthers played their first of two Thursday games against Alief Taylor at Dobie High School, which is one of several venues where pool play games take place. Duncanville entered Thursday 1-0 on the season after beating Lewisville 99-69 Tuesday night and continued what is expected to be a theme this season, blowout victories.

Duncanville dominated from start to finish against Taylor on Thursday cruising to a 69-39 win behind the all-around play of Shawn Williams, the length and fluid athleticism of junior Perry Jones (Baylor commit) and the rugged, yet skilled play of Roger Franklin (Oklahoma State).

Williams, who scored 34 points in the season opening win over Lewisville, came out of the gates quickly again. The 6-7 wing scored nine points in the first quarter and finished the half with 13 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot. The future Longhorn scored in a variety of ways due to his newfound ability to put the ball on the floor and create for him and others.

Williams hit a three-pointer off the dribble on the right wing, scored a pair of baskets in transition, one with a smooth left handed finish, a two handed dunk on the break and an offensive rebound and put back.

The second half was more of the same as Duncanville extended their 38-16 half time lead. Williams hit a pair of second half three-pointers on catch and shoot opportunities, scored a basket in transition, pulled down three rebounds and dished out two assists. The three-year starter for head coach Phil McNeely added a nifty three-point play in the fourth quarter before taking a seat on the bench with 3:21 to play.

The #44 prospect in the 2009 class finished with an efficient 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. He knocked down 10-17 field goals, 3-6 from three and 1-1 from the free throw line.

After a three-hour break, Duncanville returned to the court at Dobie High to take on North Forest High.

The Panthers came out of the gates slow in the nightcap, but that quickly changed when Coach McNeely went to the full court press to get the bodies moving and energy up.

Williams again stepped up and delivered for the Panthers scoring eight first quarter points to go with two rebounds and an assist. Williams, who has grown to nearly 6-7 from 6-6 a year ago, showed his improved ability to put the ball on the floor with a jab step near the left corner and a blow by dribble baseline that ended in a two handed dunk.

The second quarter of play against North Forest was Williams' best quarter of the day as the Panthers turned the pressure up a notch and wreaked havoc with the full court pressure.

Williams scored eight points, but it was his seven rebounds and two assists that provided a well rounded eight minutes of play. He finished the half with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one steal despite being forced to sit for nearly three minutes with three fouls.

Williams' play in the second half was more cautious with the foul trouble. He only looked for his shot on five times, knocking down a three and getting to the free throw line twice. Duncanville was on cruise control with a lead of nearly 40 points for most of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter. The long armed senior went to the bench with 6:18 to play in the game to get much needed rest with two more games to be played on Friday.

He finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals in a 97-54 win over the Houston area team.

Scouting Shawn Williams

Williams is closing in on 6-7. He seemingly appears taller every time one sees him. His body is beginning to fill out as he has been working with a personal trainer leading up to the season. Weighing a wiry 205-pounds, the future Longhorn is stronger than a year ago, but still has a lot of work in front of him to get his body where it needs to be to handle the long college basketball season.

Strengths

Williams lets the game come to him. He didn't force shots, but instead got everything out of the flow of the game and offense. He walked a smaller defender to the post and received the ball, he attacked the middle off the bounce and finished with the left hand on numerous occasions, showed his feel for the game coming off of screens and felt the double team and make the correct pass to open teammates for high percentage scoring opportunities.

Off the dribble is where Williams has improved the most since last year. He is comfortable with the ball and didn't panic or pick up his dribble when facing ball pressure from a smaller, quicker player. Williams has such an impressive feel for the game and understanding of how to get his shot off the bounce and how to set up his defender with the ability to finish with his left hand. On a couple of occasions he caught the ball on the wing coming off of a baseline screen, attacked out of triple threat, gave his defender a subtle jab step and put the ball on the floor once to get into a mid-range jumper or attack the paint followed by a finish or dish.

He knocked down four three-pointers in the two games. His first was off the bounce going right as he stayed balanced, didn't drift as right handers often do getting into a jumper going right, and released the ball high and with a soft touch.

His next three long-range jumpers were catch and shoot from the right wing. Two were kick-out passes and the other was a cross-court pass with both coming against rotating and recovering man to man defense.

Williams also did a good job of making basket cuts when his defender turned his head and converting free throws making seven of eight.

On defense, Williams guarded in a quality defensive stance with active feet and the understanding of how to use his long arms to his benefit without having to overplay and take the chance of giving up straight line drives that make rotating defense a tough chore.

Areas for Improvement

Williams still has to get stronger to finish and rebound well at the next level. A left ankle has bothered the senior that he keeps rolling for a couple of years now and will have to work to strengthen that area. As the ankle gets stronger, his lateral quickness will also improve. Against a smaller, quicker guard, Williams will struggle to defend on the next level. He'll defend with his hoops IQ early in his career as he gets stronger and improves his lateral ability. Strengthening the hips will also be a target area as he can combat what he gives up to quicker players by being strong in the hips and re-directing potentially driving opportunities.

Overall

The Longhorns signed a player that is going to be a very good college basketball player and at a need position. Williams is an all-around player that plays the game hard every time he sets foot on the court. He'll bring a hoops IQ very similar to Connor Atchley to the Texas program. An understanding of the game on both ends of the floor with a special understanding of spacing and stretching the court, making the subtle plays away from the ball and how to screen and use screens to free up scoring opportunities for him and others.


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