Williams Confident, Ready to Start WVU Career

A lot of freshmen start their first season at the collegiate level a little unsure of what they can really do.

Sure, they might be confident in their abilities, and they know what they're capable of doing when they put everything together.

But not every freshman is quite as confident as West Virginia freshman Devin Williams. The power forward from Cincinnati, Ohio, is ready to start his first season in Morgantown Friday night - and he's excited to show people what he can do.

"I know there's not a player in the country that can guard me one-on-one down (in the low post)," he said.

It's a startling level of confidence for a player who scored just four points on a 1-of-3 performance from the field in the Mountaineers' 89-70 exhibition tuneup against Fairmont State Monday night. But, with the way West Virginia ran its offense against the Falcons, it wasn't something that was a total surprise to WVU head coach Bob Huggins.

"We've got to throw the ball more to him than what we did, obviously. I think we only threw it to him twice in the post," Huggins said after pausing for a second to process his freshman's bold declaration to members of the media.

"It'll be kind of a game-to-game deal as far as how we put pressure on the rim. We tried to do that before with Deniz in there, but we're probably going to do it more now by driving it to the rim rather than have someone throw it in there to somebody in the post."

And although his numbers weren't as great as they could have been, Williams doesn't think that game should serve as an indication of what people should expect to see from him when the regular season gets going.

"The offensive game, I think that is going to take care of itself," he said. "That just happened to be an exhibition game and I was just going out there to see how many rebounds I could grab."

Rebounding is the thing that Williams prides himself on - almost as much as the goggles he's worn since he was in the seventh grade - and it's what he wants people to think of when they think of the way he plays.

Williams had 14 rebounds against Fairmont State, and when he was asked if he wanted to finish in the top 10 in rebounding in the Big 12, he had bigger goals in mind.

"No. 1," he said. "Everything I do I want to be No. 1 at it. I want to be known in the Big 12 and in the country for being a hard-working freshman who has a motor and is tough."

Huggins said this week that, while he works hard at it, there's one big thing that Williams has going for him that helps him excel at rebounding that not everyone can have. It's something a coach can't teach.

He's got good genes.

"He's got a great body," Huggins said of 6-foot-9, 255-pound freshman. "Big, wide shoulders. He's got good hands."

But the freshman does say there's something to rebounding.

There are things that he, and a lot of other talented rebounders across the county, does in order to distinguish themselves from everyone else.

"It's all want-to," Williams said. "It's what you want to do, so if that's me wanting to go get that rebound, I'm going to go get that rebound. If my concern is set on wanting to score, I'm going to score. It's just more of what I want to do, and if I keep the attitude of wanting to go get them rebounds and wanting to keep getting better on defense, it's going to happen.

"It's going to be tough, there are going to be ups and downs because I'm a freshman and I'm still learning, but I feel like at the end of the day I'm just going to keep getting better because I want to do these things because it's going to help me individually. And I think me helping myself individually is only going to help the team."

It helps Williams that he's coachable. He knows that there are times when Huggins is going to come down hard on them.

He got a firsthand look at that Monday when he gave up an easy basket and the veteran head coach gave him an earful.

"Sometimes it might get to me, but for the most part you take what he's trying to say. That's more important than the volume of his voice," Williams said. "He isn't trying to downgrade me, it's just criticism.

"He's trying to help you. When he's yelling at you, you got to respect it because he knows what he's talking about because he's been around for 30-some years."

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