With each game this season we'll put the spotlight on an Indiana player that we believe is someone to keep an eye on for that particular game.
For Tuesday's game against Oakland, we'll take a look at freshman Troy Williams.
When Williams poured in 22 points and shot 8-of-12 from the field in the first game in New York City Nov. 21 against the University of Washington, a lot of people around the country took notice. There had been a lot of talk about IU's freshman class but most of the early attention had focused on Noah Vonleh. Devin Davis, out of Warren Central, was another freshman that was making an early impact. But when Williams had that game on the national stage against the Huskies, I think Indiana fans wondered if that was going to become the norm rather than the exception. That question is still lingering. In his last four games since his breakout affair against Washington, Williams has scored a total of 16 points. After shooting 8-for-12 against Washington, Williams is 7-of-24 the past four games against Connecticut, Evansville, Syracuse and North Florida.
For the season, Williams is still boasting averages of 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds. He is averaging 23.2 minutes per game. He is shooting 44.4 percent from the field but is just 1-of-11 from 3-point range. And that one 3-pointer came Nov. 12 against LIU Brooklyn. That means Williams has gone seven games and nearly a month since his only 3-pointer of the year. One of Williams' strengths has been steals. He is tied for the team lead in that category with Vonleh, both with 12 steals in the first nine games. Another area where Williams needs to make improvement though is his assist-to-turnover ratio. Right now he has had five assists and 17 turnovers this season.
Beginning Tuesday, Williams will have a shot at re-establishing himself over the next four games before Big Ten play opens on New Year's Eve at Illinois. Williams is one player that Tom Crean seems to spend a lot of time with when he comes out of games with teaching moments. The true freshman is digesting a lot of things from his coach but I think most people believe there is a tremendous amount of upside here and it's just a matter of Williams letting the game come to him and becoming more of a consistent player. When that happens, Williams is going to be a force for the Hoosiers. Will it happen this season? I think the next four games will tell us a lot about how much we can really expect from Williams this season.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch