Troy Williams Archive
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The story goes Kevin Ferrell’s mom nicknamed him “Yogi” as a child as an ode to Yogi Bear, the Hannah-Barbera character with a similar voracious appetite. He certainly lived up to the nickname last season, eating up 25 percent of Indiana’s possessions in a year the team starved for any kind of offensive production.
But as the preseason first team All-Big Ten selection enters his junior year as the team’s longest-tenured leader, he’s due for a reinterpretation of the nickname and a role change on a squad with more shooting and playmakers. The root word of Yogi is yoke, which means “to unite” or “join together”. After a disappointing 2012-2013 season where the Indiana Culture struggled at times, Ferrell is in line to do just that for these Hoosiers.
“That’s how I feel like I have to start off each game, being more of a facilitator,” Ferrell said late Thursday morning. “I feel a lot more comfortable, I feel like now I can balance my game out a lot more. So I’m definitely going to try and find these guys more. And once they take them away, I’m going to try and score myself.
“What I want to focus on is not turning the ball over so much. I want my assist-turnover ratio to be a lot higher. I want to have one of the highest ones in the league. So watching some film, seeing what I do here wrong. Not making jump passes. Not trying to force.”
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Troy Williams.
If the Hoosiers are to make a return trip to the NCAA tournament, a sophomore leap from Troy Williams could go a long way in making it a reality.
Coming into Tom Crean’s program last summer from Oak Hill Academy, Williams’ athleticism and love of the home run play were never in doubt. But as the 2013-2014 season went along, the Virginia product suffered from a prolonged case of freshman-itis. He tried to do too much and was often too fast with the ball in his hands (24.8 turnover percentage). While his 2-point field goal percentage led the team (56.9 percent) thanks to a nice ability to score at the rim, his free throw shooting (67.6 percent) and 3-point shooting (20.7 percent) suffered. Williams missed assignments on defense and lacked awareness at times on both sides of the ball.
The good news?
Crean has proven if a young, raw player puts in the time and commitment to his program, he’ll get better. And on the Canada trip, Williams indeed appears to be sporting an improved all-around game.
He stuffed the statsheet during the five-game tour (18.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in 27.8 minutes per game) and revealed a left-hand injury that prevented him from using both hands during last season is a thing of the past. While Williams’ shot so far appears improved, his greatest chance at success on offense may be attacking off the dribble and scoring off the baseline. And an improved cast of shooters around him may give him more space to do so. Improved decision-making as he breaks down the defense should lead to a) less turnovers and b) a higher assist rate.
Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: Troy Williams. Previously: Nick Zeisloft, Devin Davis.
Plenty of storylines emerged over IU’s five-game tour of Montreal and Ottawa. Among them: IU’s improved ball movement, the perimeter shooting of Nick Zeisloft and the play of freshman guards James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson.
However, the most intriguing of all of them may have been the play of sophomore Troy Williams. In five games, the sophomore wing from Hampton (Va.) put up impressive numbers: 18.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in 27.8 minutes per game.
It was a major swing from what Indiana fans saw out of Williams as a freshman. While effective at times, he was inconsistent and struggled with his shooting from the perimeter. In Canada, Williams laid off the perimeter shots and instead, focused on attacking off the dribble and scoring often off of baseline drives. Williams credited his health as a major reason for the improved play.
“Last year I had a hand injury – I always had my left hand bandaged,” he said. “Now that it is healed, it feels better. I have always been comfortable with the ball, I just couldn’t use both hands last year. Now that I have both back, it is much easier for me to handle the ball again.”
More important than the scoring, however, was the variety of ways in which Williams was able to impact the game.
Indiana’s five-game tour of Montreal and Ottawa wrapped on Wednesday afternoon and the Hoosiers returned home to Bloomington with a 4-1 record, much needed experience and plenty to work on before the start of practice.
Inside the Hall was there for each of the five exhibition games and you can read all of our coverage from the trip at this link. But with so much to digest in such a short period of time, our coverage from the trip is not done.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from what we saw in Canada:
· It’s early, but the first vibe from this team is a positive one: One thing I tried to do with each of the games was not turn them into a bigger deal than what they actually were. It’s August, the competition was up (Ottawa and Carleton) and down (McGill, Laval and UQAM) and the game is different with FIBA rules.
That said, there just already seems to be a cohesiveness forming with this group that I never observed last season. That’s not to say that chemistry was the overriding issue with Indiana a season ago, but there’s value in having a group of players who genuinely like each other on and off the court.
Following Indiana’s final win in Montreal, both Troy Williams and Robert Johnson talked about the chemistry and how it’s coming along so far.
“Off the court, anyone can hang out with anyone,” Williams explained. “I can hang out with Stan (Robinson) and Devin (Davis) one day and then the next day I could hang out with Jeremiah (April) and Tim (Priller). We all get along with each other so well.”
“I think it is coming along really good,” Johnson said. “From day one, whenever we went out and did different things, we always did it as a team. From what they tell me, last year it wasn’t always like that, so from that standpoint it is good and it has helped bring us together even more.”
Due to FIBA rules, a 24-second shot clock and a whirlwind set of five games, drawing concrete conclusions about these 2014-2015 Hoosiers isn’t wise.
Still, the vibe is decidedly different from the disappointment of a year ago. New faces are in place. They’re hanging out a lot — and even staying present with each other during bus rides home instead of staring at their smartphones.
And so if a theme emerged from the Montréal trip, it’s this: Trust is building — both on the court and off it. On offense, no longer does Yogi Ferrell have to do it all. There are better ball handlers, playmakers and 3-point shooters up and down this roster. Move the ball, make the extra pass, play together and for each other. That’s the key. Because the potential for offense variety is vast; this group of perimeter players can mix and match all over the court.
In a special Montréal edition of Film Session thanks to the livestream against McGill, we’ll look at all this starting to take shape:
After a Robert Johnson missed 3-pointer from the right wing, Troy Williams blows past the McGill defenders to grab the rebound, going from the weak to strong side to grab the board:
Williams throws a hesitation dribble at the McGill defender:
MONTREAL — Indiana’s five-game Canadian tour wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon with a 109-77 rout of the University of Quebec at Montreal.
Inside the Hall was there for all of the action and have edited together close to two minutes of highlights, which are available below. Please note that Big Ten rules prevent us from showing more than two minutes per game on the trip.
Previous game highlights: Laval, Ottawa, Carleton, McGill
MONTREAL — Thoughts on a 109-77 win over the University of Quebec at Montreal:
Indiana’s five-game trip through Canada came to an end on Wednesday afternoon and in a lot of ways, the game felt much like the first game of the trip for the Hoosiers.
The opponent had little in terms of size, IU was clearly the more athletic and talented team and once it took control, there was little doubt as to what the result would be.
Still, there were positives to draw out of the effort, particularly when you consider this team was playing its fifth game in six days.
The bounce back effort of Robert Johnson, who went scoreless on Tuesday, is near the top of the list. The freshman guard from Richmond (Va.) finished with 17 points, hit all four of his 3-point attempts and also added five rebounds, four assists and three steals. In his postgame comments, Tom Crean mentioned that he didn’t even realize that Johnson failed to score on Tuesday because he was contributing in other facets of the game.
Devin Davis also had a strong final effort on the glass, corralling a team-high 10 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. While Davis wasn’t consistent with his rebounding totals on the trip, he’s definitely worked on his body in the offseason and seems more comfortable when he catches the ball near the block. While he’s still undersized, the added strength should allow Davis to hold his own as he role continues to grow.
Troy Williams was also outstanding on this afternoon with a team-high 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists and said one of the reasons he’s more comfortable right now than he was last season is that his left hand is completely healthy. Crean has talked a lot on this trip about getting his team to understand that it’s often better to just make the simple play and Williams, with his elite athleticism, is a great example for a player where this should be the focus.