2013-2014 Player Profile: Troy Williams

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we look at freshman Troy Williams.

While fellow freshman Noah Vonleh possesses the most basketball talent out of the freshman class, it’s Troy Williams high-flying, energetic style of play that might endear him most to Indiana fans. There is a youthful exuberance to Williams’ game; he makes it all look so fun. (This is a kid, after all, who has proclaimed he’s still trying to give the dunk contest a go despite a right hand injury.)

Williams’ pedigree and accolades are well-known at this point. The Virginia native played AAU ball for his uncle, Boo Williams. He was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia and spent his senior season playing for Oak Hill Academy, a program that’s pumped out NBA talent like Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo. A stat stuffer, he averaged 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 blocks during his senior season. More recently, Williams picked up MVP honors at the Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

RELATED: Troy’s Story

But Williams, like plenty of other freshmen around the country, still has an underdeveloped all-around game. And while his style of play is exciting, it’s also one that could stand some sharper discipline as he assimilates to the college game, lest he become The Undisciplined One, Take II.

“He was a freak athlete that I felt when I got him didn’t have a real great feel for how to play,” said Oak Hill coach Steve Smith when he got Williams for his senior season. “I thought, ‘Man, he takes some bad shots, forces up stuff.’”

Of course, if there’s any coach that can take raw athleticism to the next level, it’s Tom Crean and Indiana. When Williams committed, he cited Crean telling him what he needed to improve about his game as one of the reasons he believes he’s a great coach. Williams’ highlights reels are filled with blocks; a stronger understanding of on-ball and team defense could make him elite on that end. On offense, Williams is great around the rim and is sure to get looks on the break. But his jumper, though not too bad, could stand more polish. And when things tighten up in the half court in the Big Ten, Williams will need to understand proper spacing and movement.

But if he’s willing to put in the work and follow in the footsteps of Victor Oladipo and others before him, his game should continue to grow and improve.

Bottom Line: While Williams is currently out with a right hand injury, he figures to draw some strong minutes off the bench in his freshman season. His athleticism makes him a threat on both ends of the court and should help much with bench depth, an area where Indiana found itself exposed at times last season. Williams is sure to produce some jaw-dropping plays this season and become a fan favorite — if he isn’t already.

Quotable: “My uncle was my father figure. He still is. I think he always will be. He grew me up, showed me how to mature and all that. He taught me new things and taught me right from wrong. He’s replaced my father with himself. When I go through mental stuff or I just have a question, I either go to him and then my Aunt Terri.” — Troy Williams

Previously: Collin Hartman

(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

  • sarge

    there is a lot to like about the new class of freshman, but this guy is the one i am most excited about. great instincts, huge potential, and he is the type of player that thrives in our program and player development. If crean can develop him like the other guard/wing combos that hes had watch out! this guy has the potential to be the best player on the court in any game he plays in.

  • SCHoosier

    Tremendous upside for Troy..reminds me of VO’s general situation as a freshman. Now about that right hand…??..):

  • Ya, mon.

    Instincts, athleticism, potential, and upside are requisites for any player recruited by Tom Crean. We’ve come to expect those things.

    What impresses me the most about Troy Williams is his character, the things he does and the decisions he makes when nobody is looking. Extra hours in the gym, paying close attention to coaches, working to fill out his game, hitting the books, and the quiet satisfaction he gets from climbing the next rung of the ladder in his developement.

    Williams is destined to become a leader on this team in every aspect. He knows how good he can be and seems enthusiastic about doing the things necessary to reach his potential.

    There’s a lot to expect from this young man, but nobody expects more of him than he expects of himself.

  • dtfreed

    When you read his and others’ statements about his life and his b-Ball maturity, a lot of recruits in the ’16 class are making those gains and adjustment. So I hope he is actually further ahead of way his situation is stated. CTC certainly had him pretty high on the list when he ran down the whole team on hoosier scoop. I am constantly reminded of the ’12 class, with such high hope, but it is still, sans Yogi, trying to make the next step.

  • IUMIKE1

    Most people, me included, expect NV to make the biggest impact out of all the incoming freshmen, but I think Troy edges out SR for the, ” made a bigger impact his freshman year than most people thought he would “, award. Agree with the part that his jumper needs some polish. IMHO that is by far and away the area of his overall game that needs improved the most, and if he does that the sky is the limit.

    Hmmm that sounds a whole lot like someone else that come to IU with a boat load of raw natural athleticism and suspect jumper, but also had a hell of a work ethic that he unpacked out of his suitcase as well, doesn’t it ? Here’s to hoping for a similar outcome.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    i’m definitely cautious about my expectations with this class for that very reason. then again, i think we’re gonna see some major improvements with the ’12 guys this year.

    regarding tw, i’m probably the most intrigued by what he’s bringing to the table. based on what little footage i’ve seen, his upside is through the friggin roof! the dude looks so much faster than every other player on the court, very curious to see if that holds true against college players.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Just curious, if he does all these impressive things and makes all these decisions while “nobody is looking”….how do you know about it? How do you know he pays close attention to coaches and hits the books and gets satisfaction from climbing the ladder and developing? I don’t think we should ever criticize these guys character without knowing them but I really don’t know how we can build up their character without knowing them either.
    That’s just my opinion though and you might know Troy really well.

  • Ole Man

    I’m most excited about Vonleh. He’s the one, if he’s for real, who could be “surrounded” by good players and take them and the team to the next level–just as Zeller did his freshman year.

  • ScoopGeoff

    2 differences between this freshman class and ’12…

    1) this class’s top 4 are rated slightly higher (11, 53, 63, 89 vs 22, 36, 53, 161), so expectations should be slightly higher. Also, you have 2 more players, so the chance for more of them to be impactful is statistically greater. Roughly half the scholarship roster is freshman.

    2) and this is the real difference… You don’t have 4 returning starters and 1000 point scorers returning. You don’t have aged and experienced bench players returning in those bench roles.

    Maybe they won’t play great all the time, but to think that this class won’t be far more impactful than last year’s (in year one) is ignoring the facts and logic.

  • mk

    But how many recruiting classes come in and every single player makes an instant impact? Time was, freshman wouldn’t even play. All I’m saying is the ’12 class still has 3 years to be something special…

  • Ya, mon.

    C and C…

    The comment on character is definitional. It is in my lexicon, anyway. Character is the sum of what we do in private and in public and is as much perception as fact.

    I know one of his professors who spoke of Troy’s academic efforts. Crean has commented on the extra hours of practice. His mother spoke of him sleeping with a basketball as a child. His uncle and coach provides even more insight into Williams character.

    By all accounts, Troy is a special young man who is enthusiastic and commited to getting the absolute most out of himself and his years at IU.

  • SCHoosier

    Or than his mama expects of him…sounds like a really positive strong lady when she’s on this Board. Where ya at mom?

  • CreamandCrimson

    Fair enough. I’ll stick to watching what he does on the court but good to hear he’s a special, committed, enthusiastic young man in all areas of his life. Thanks for the response.

  • Snookafly

    Vonleh is definitely the superstar who will come out of the gate swinging. That said, he might not be with Indiana as long as we’d all like. I’m excited about the type of player Troy could be for us this year, but especially 2-3 years down the road if things work out. He has a lot of the qualities you want in a young player.

  • WisconHoosier

    I like the civility of this exchange between C and C, and YaMon. Nicely done on both sides.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know it was against a small number of other players and ones that are freshmen this year, but every single kid at last year’s Derby Festival All Star Game is playing Div. 1 some in high level Div. 1 schools and he seemed to be a step faster and have just a little more in the hops department than most, if not all, of them.

    Look for him to be have well above average success while at IU. Him having success and Robert Johnson doing the same next year will go a long way in opening up fertile recruiting ground with the Boo Williams program.

  • IUMIKE1

    Look at you actin’ all civil and noncombative. The lengths some people will go just to make sure they aren’t mistaken for a blue trollin’ pUKe fan. LOL

  • MillaRed

    Wait a minute, how do you know C&C is acting civil? Before you make assumptions like this I’m going to need a complete background check on him and his whereabouts.

    Did he pull pony tails in grade school? Does he cheat when playing poker? Did he buy an IU bumper sticker in 1976?

    These are questions that need to be answered.

  • Kyl470

    Did you see Vonleh in the team picture? You can tell he has hit the weight room since all the high school All Star games. He has the potential to be a monster down low.

  • MillaRed

    Landing Yogi is enough to love that class but I personally need to see a lot from the rest. Jeremy is #2 in terms of contributing now and I think he has a good ceiling. Hanner? I need to see A LOT from him. And Peter whether we like it or not has been discussed as a possible transfer. His health is what it is.

    Not to add salt to the wound, but I think Patterson might have started at the 2 spot this year. His loss was a big hit to that class.

    With that being said, I’m with Scoop. This class literally has 4 guys I am pretty excited about and 2 others in Devin and Collin that could be solid role players. I expect Noah, Stan, Troy and Luke all to start multiple years and play at a high level.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I pulled one pony tail in grade school but it belonged to a guy and he deserved it. I would cheat at poker but I’m not smart enough to get away with it. I wasn’t alive in 1976 but we’ll go with yes, I did buy an IU bumper sticker way before being conceived. Is my 3-month old son going to be suspended now?

    Glad people see me as civil, I’ve always been a lover, not a fighter (at least until the season starts haha).

  • mk

    “the fun we are going to have, the rivals we are going to create, the fans”

    I love this kid.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    CC,
    Alex did a great article write up on Troy some time back and it had a lot to do with where he came from, his lack of assistance (family) and still rose above it all. It’s a nice read so look it up and you will have a different outlook on his Character. No criticism here just info.

  • Snookafly

    I haven’t seen the picture, but I ran into him at the mall. He is every bit of 6’10 and solid. He’s going to be a beast, but I hope we have the quality depth to let him play the 4. With his coordination he can do things most college centers can’t, and it would save him some wear and tear in Big Ten play.

  • mk

    Obviously Hanner has to improve a lot from last year. I guess my question is how much? what would be an acceptable ceiling? Clearly not everyone ends up being a NBA first round draft pick (or second, or free agent, ect)

  • Kenneth234

    When I look at Williams and where he is today compared to where Victor was coming in as a freshman, I think that if he has half the intangibles that Victor brought with him, Williams will be a huge addition. Skill wise, he comes in much more prepared than Victor did. If he dedicates himself like that than there is quite the possibility that he can have a similar impact sooner than Victor did. So if all the comments on this thread are indicative of the work that Troy is putting in, we may have another very special player on our hands.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Let’s not issue a final judgment on the ’12 recruiting class just yet. There were 4 1,000+ point scorers / 2 top 5 draft picks ahead of them.

  • MillaRed

    It’s a tough call. The kid hails from another country. He was injured. There is very little doubt his measurables are through the roof. It just has to show on the basketball court.

    I like Hanner’s future but I’m thinking year three and four for some reason. I think he gets minutes but has so far to go.

    But hey, could he surprise the H out of us? Absolutely.

  • Corey M

    Is that wrong if i wish it would have gotten a little uglier! Haha

  • http://Insidethehall.com/ HoosierKen73

    I agree with you Kenneth… BTW great name…lol.. Thing is, he is quite a bit taller than Vic, in fact probably nearly three inches… and his skill set is better at this stage if his development. Ergo, I believe he may have bigger impact from day one. Guess we’ll all have to wait and see, but that is JMHO.

  • Southport65

    This is a little off the story. I am sure Troy is going to be a great hoosier but I saw where ESPN had their new 2014 rankings and Robert Johnson moved to #44 for all you guys who griped that his #80 ranking was to low for us to go after. It just shows that our coaches know talent when they see it. Also Goodluck moved up to a # 21 and a 5 star recruit and D.Robinson to #28. Coach still has a great chance to pull out another top 10 class.

  • IU fans re: IU’s benchwarmers

    OMG, ________ is Victor Olidipo all over again!!! Crean really knows how to find the diamonds in the rough!!!

  • sghoosier

    Williams wasnt exactly a nobody at HS. Storied HS program, Va Gatorade of teh year etc.

  • Orlandipo

    I think he will be good this year by all means, but I think he is the type of guy who could have a breakout season next year and be a complete monster. I I think after a year of developing with CTC and plenty of time to practice he could be a slightly taller and more of a post player version of Oladipo.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I have read the article and the piece you are referring to was actually written by Justin Albers, not Alex. It was a very good read and these writers always do a great job. That being said, I don’t need to have a different outlook on his character. I don’t have an outlook on his character. Troy (and every other player on our roster) seem like nice guys who try hard academically and work their tails off to improve as basketball players. I just choose not to think about the character or integrity of guys I’ve never met and likely never will meet. I wouldn’t want people I don’t know forming an opinion on a character so I try to stay away from it. To each his own though and I don’t want it come off like I have a negative perception of Troy’s character, I’m not arguing that Troy has accomplished a lot in his young life and seems to have a passion to keep on excelling.

  • Katie M.

    Really excited about Troy! I think he’s a class act, and will surprise quite a few people this year. We’re already planning on hitting up his line at Hoosier Hysteria. (Hopefully Noah will be in the same one and we can knock out two birds with one stone!)

  • IUMIKE1

    Guess I don’t see how talking about my impressions of Troy Williams’ performance at that all star game & how I thought he will do while at IU was passing some kind of judgment on the group that were freshmen last year.

  • mk

    Hater, go root for kentucky.

  • MillaRed

    Well that’s not very nice. And after all we’ve done to you.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Sorry – I meant to reply to whatsupknight

  • IUMIKE1

    No problem, just thought maybe I was missing something.

  • Hardwood83

    “It makes me feel better about myself to troll other teams sites from my Mom’s basement”
    Come on fella,you signed up for an account to do this? That gnawing voice inside that is telling you that you are a complete loser is absolutely right. You have nothing to offer the world.

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