Mindset unchanged, Williams ready to put in work

  • 05/06/2015 1:57 pm in

The transformation Troy Williams made between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Indiana was significant.

The 6-foot-7 forward went from a player Big Ten defenses were often able to take away as a freshman to one that carried the Hoosiers at times as a sophomore because of his ability to impact the game in a variety of ways.

Williams improved his efficiency offensively, cut his turnover percentage by more than five percent, led Indiana in rebounding and showcased a much more polished stroke from the foul line and occasionally from behind the 3-point arc.

When Williams played well last season, so did the Hoosiers in most cases. In Indiana’s nine Big Ten wins, he averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game.

His improvement from his freshman to sophomore seasons gave Williams the opportunity to explore his NBA draft options at the end of this past season, but he chose to return to Bloomington to continue to grow his game. He is also on schedule to earn his degree next summer.

With its top eight scorers returning and the arrival of a three-man recruiting class featuring McDonald’s All-American Thomas Bryant, there’s great optimism surrounding IU basketball as the Hoosiers prepare for the 2015-2016 season.

But as Williams sees it, the approach won’t change much this offseason from last even with greater expectations present.

“We just want to do the same things,” he said Monday at Assembly Hall. “Working out, lifting, nothing new. We have the same mindsets. New people coming in, and that’s it. We’re going to keep everything the same.”

The spring academic semester wraps up this week and several players, including Williams, will get a chance to go home for the first time since the beginning of the year.

After that, it’s right back to work.

“We’ll go work out like we always do, go work out with John Lucas,” Williams said. “I’m going to hone some point guard skills, since I don’t know when I’ll be put in that situation again. I might play more point guard next year, I may not. Shooting, of course, as well as making the right decisions.”

Last summer, Williams shot 10,000 3-pointers and he said Monday that he may do something similar this year.

His shooting and working on his core strength were the two major feedback pieces he took away from NBA teams when exploring his options at the conclusion of last season. Now it’s a matter of taking that information and getting back to work with the goal of another significant offseason leap in mind.

In the end, the amount of work Williams is willing to put in this offseason will determine just how much more he can improve from a sophomore to a junior.

“Does Troy need to get stronger?” Tom Crean said last month. “Does he need to get better with the ball? Does he need to become a better shooter? Does he need to become a better defender? Yeah, you see the same things that other people see, but the trick is, ‘will he work at that point to put himself in the position that he could be in?’ And that’s really important, too, and the answer to that remains to be seen.

“But that’s the crux right now. Are you going to work at the level that you need to work on your own to put yourself in that position, because we’re not going to change how we push you and work with you.”

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  • hoosier93

    The walk on will play as many minutes as Nate Ritchie did last year.

  • hoosier93

    Most likely Troy’s best case scenario in the NBA is going to be a role player. Troy is one of probably a few hundred. I’m glad he’s at IU. But when looking at his jump to the NBA… he has a very steep uphill battle.

  • marcusgresham

    No, I agree they are different as night and day in their games, but their trajectories are eerily similar.

  • IUMIKE1

    Just sitting here wishing I could make the upvote count the other 3,904 times that I would like to click it. IMHO sticking with the 3 guard lineup will bring more success than last year…..but by only winning a few more games, where as, utilizing the kind of lineup that you speak of, and that I have advocated for over and over since the end of the season, will allow us to contend for, if not win, the B1G title, the B1G tourney and at bare minimum an Elite Eight finish in the big dance.

  • IUMIKE1

    Less than that if Crean does what he should and doesn’t go with the 3 guard lineup again.

  • marcusgresham

    I remember Sheehey doing some nice stuff from up top.

  • marcusgresham

    Just so long as it wasn’t boilermakers….

  • SCHoosier

    I hope working on his PG skills are at the bottom of hTW’s improvement list! It’s all there for Troy’s taking if he improves his defense, shooting and handle. Kid is a baller and I hope he reaches his full potential as a Hoosier. That said..whenever he takes the ball at the top of the key and waves other players away….there’s a 50-50 chance of a TO or a great play. Guess that’s part of what makes Troy fun to watch. Second team B-10..at a minimum next year!

  • SilentBob

    PG in the since he could intiate offensive sets. He could get the ball in his hand at the top and direct his teammates into spots. He could work the pick and roll, drive and dish tremendously well at times. PG attributes. Also Zeller and Watford were tremendous players, but Oladipo was the heart and soul. The engine. He is the only reason we didn’t lose to Syracuse by 30

  • SilentBob

    Maybe so maybe not. I’m interested in Troy being the best college player he can be, and him being the best college player he can be will ultimately help him be the best pro he can be. He has all the things you can’t teach; competitiveness, athleticism, height and creativity. Could stand to gain some mass and be more patient but hey he is only 20ish. I believe he can go as far as he is willing to work

  • Btown88

    Addition thru subtraction. Coming off the bench allows some to have a better understanding of the game and less pressure.
    Which players, in which position and what combinations, will be fluid this year. The BIG advantage over last year, is we have EVERY position covered by prototypical players for those positions.
    I think that the Starting 5 will be determined by WHO makes the biggest improvement over the summer, especially if TW makes a huge improvement in his jump shot.
    If Bryant is a beast and if the “committee” handle the 4, then we see a starting line-up with 2 guards, 2 forwards and a Big. I think the 1-2-3-4-5 designation disappears or at least becomes blurred.

  • Ardeare

    Crean would like to shoot the 3 every time down court. That’s why big men are slow to come, quick to leave, and almost impossible to develop.

  • TomJameson

    Exactly! Oladipo didn’t actually bring the ball up court much, but he did initiate the offense quite often. He did similar work as Oladipo from the top of the key (similar, not the same), plus it freed up Yogi to catch-and-shoot some threes. All in all that was pretty efficient, and I can see it being even better now that there is a true center and defenses can’t cheat out to the perimeter as much.

  • TomJameson

    I think the lineups are very debatable … and probably not many of them wrong. LOL. I also think the 2 guards vs 3 guards debate might be a moot point depending on the lineup. What I mean by that is that with Yogi and JBJ as locks for starting, when you add Troy at the 3 (with ‘anticipated’ improvement in shooting), you can call that a 2 guard or a 3 guard lineup.

    Troy would be able to shoot or slash, and I can see those 3 tearing it up (again, with the caveat of improved shooting).

    As far as the other 2 starters, I think Bryant (of course) and Holt, Hartman, or DD. Then you can always start NZ as the third ‘guard’ and have Troy & Bryant/Troy at the 4/5.

    Lineups can be exciting to watch this season. I just hoping ours will change according to the competition and not be set in stone, at least not the whole lineup.

  • TomJameson

    Yogi, Hulls, Vic …. = Yogi, JBJ, Troy.

    This is (as always) dependent on improving his outside shot.

  • TomJameson

    Hahaha … thanks for that Marcus.

  • TomJameson

    I can’t see Crean getting “stewed”, but like to be there if he ever did. lol

    Crean has always been loyal (to a fault sometimes) to his seniors, so I don’t think Holt will get more playing time than Hanner… at least not initially. I really think it will depend on Creans lineups. If he uses Hanner primarily as a backup to Bryant, and Holt in multiple ways (Bryant backup, rotation in the 4 positon, etc…)

    Truthfully, I think almost any opinions about lineups at this point are just as valid as anybody elses. And that’s a good thing!

  • TomJameson

    Great reference!! Thanks for that shared bit of knowledge. Sounds like you are a coach for life … Good for you.

  • Ole Man

    Agree on ‘Cuse! Understand that he was an all-around player. Disagree that he was heart and soul. Where would that team have been without Cody?

  • TomJameson

    I’m not sure I totally agree with that. In the transition offense I would say that’s probably true, but in the half-court offense I think not as true.

    I think that CTC likes to go “through the paint” when in the half-court. I think we’ll see Bryant making a play if one’s available, or kicking it out for a three if not. Either way I will agree that the 3-point shot is an important part of his teams … especially these current ones.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Ask NBA player Nick Stauskas if Yogi can play defense. This past year Yogi was asked to do too much on the defensive end, in my opinion. If you would have exchanged Vic his junior year for Yogi this past season, Vic would not have had as good of a defensive year because of the surrounding cast. Yogi can be a lock down defender if he’s not worried about everyone else’s defensive shortcomings. BTW, I am NOT saying Yogi is as good of a defensive player as Vic.

  • Kyl470

    Vic was the defensive player of the year in the Big 10. A lot of what he did doesn’t show up on stats.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    tons of potential with this kid. what i’m mostly hoping for out of his jr. season is consistency! there were far too many games where he just wasn’t a factor at all. being said, i think working on the things he mentioned: shooting, decision making, ball handling are the way to go about it. he certainly brings energy and hustle every game. he definitely seemed to be developing a better shooting touch last season, would love to see it continue to develop

  • hoosier93

    Well hopefully Holt doesn’t have to guard either of those two much if he’s coming off the bench.

  • hoosier93

    Probably somewhere around mediocre like last year.

  • PBzeer

    Whatever the lineup turns out to be, it’s going to be pretty dependent on how much defense is a priority this coming season. And I don’t think simply switching Bryant for Hanner is going to make enough difference from last season, which to me, is the most likely scenario. Add in the often enigmatic substitution patterns, and one is left with the question of whether our talent will be utilized in the most effective manner.

  • IUMIKE1

    I was thinking to myself, when reading the comments about him shooting 10K 3’s and that even more would be better, that I hoped he was doing it with someone schooled in the art of good shot mechanics nearby and observing him, or as you say, it could turn into him having a hitch that would be hard to remove from his mechanics and all of those shots almost turn out to be for minus instead of a plus. If he his doing this while at John Lucas’ gym I’d have to believe that they know that and would make sure that that doesn’t happen.

  • HoosierBballNut

    Vic being selected number had a lot to do with his defense so for Troy to even have Lottery aspirations, he would have to be offensively far superior..

  • IUMIKE1

    Yep, not the $64K question but, as I like to call it, the 3 million dollar a year question, for sure.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    I sure don’t see it that way. For starters I have never understood the assertions on these threads that “Yogi is great but can’t perform at his level of greatness because of all the other IU players.” Its a reach as an argument don’t you think? And kind of flies in the face of the long-standing notion that great players make those around them better.

    And since this is a discussion thread I’ll ask: I’m flummoxed: What was Yogi asked to do on defense that caused him to not be able to play it? I thought his help defense was a borderline zero (uninspired) all year.

    Anyway, I think if you analyzed Yogi’s play you would be extremely hard pressed to assert that he blocks out for defensive rebounds (or even bothers to raise his arms to shoulder level to get ready for a rebound); that he looks to take charges; or that he gets back on transition defense more than 1/2 the time (to be generous). I actually think you’d be hard pressed to identify moments when he is even in proper defensive position. This was commented on several times by announcing experts throughout the season and numerous times on these threads. Absolutely no way to compare him to Vic.

    I do agree that reaching back a couple years once and awhile he’s been inspired defensively for a few minutes (e.g. your Stauskas comment and I’ll add that Staukas’s nba career is down and out) but come on…defense is a daily activity if you want to be good at it. I think that is the crux of hoosier93’s comment). Yogi did play some solid defense for about 10 minutes against Butler in the 2nd half last year.

  • oldiugymnast

    Sorry – should have been more clear. I mean Kmart when he was a 19 year old rookie at the Kings. Athletic, thin, 6’7 2 guard that didn’t have a 3 ball. But who needs it when you can drive and kick to Mike Bibby.

  • At the Quarries

    Troy had the best 3-PT% (46.2%) on the team last season. Granted, he took only 13 3-pointers, but if I remember correctly they were spread out over the season and earned him some respect from opposing defenses. I also remember him making a few nice mid-range jumpers.

    After the 2012-13 horrible season I also remember Troy being one the most positive and optimistic voices on the team. The kid is loyal and has mettle!

  • marcusgresham

    Johnson could be, though.
    I’m not advocating for a continuation of the 3-guard line-up, but RJ has the makings of a pretty solid frame. He already rebounds well.

  • marcusgresham

    If only he could have hit a few of those against Purdue it would have changed the complexion of the entire game. Purdue won that game largely because they put Hammons on Williams and instructed him not to guard Troy outside of about 12 feet.

  • At the Quarries

    I look forward to the first game next season when the opposing team pays dearly for this kind of gamble on Troy, because they will have to gamble on someone.