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.
Four of IU’s returning players – Collin Hartman, Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft and Troy Williams – along with associated head coach Tim Buckley, assistant coach Chuck Martin and director of basketball operations Rob Judson met with the media on Monday afternoon at Assembly Hall to provide an offseason update.
With a pair of lottery picks in 2013 and one in 2014, draft watch was a regular feature on the site the past two seasons. With no clear prospect headed for the 2015 NBA draft, we ditched the feature this season, but have resurrected it for a postseason edition as Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams appear to be on the radar, but aren’t sure things to be picked if they were to declare.
The key date this year for Indiana fans to know is Sunday, April 26, as the NBA’s early entry deadline for the draft is that day at 11:59 p.m. ET. The NCAA does have a deadline of its own on Tuesday, April 14, but it has no relevance as it is technically only a withdrawal deadline for players who have already declared to remove their name and retain NCAA eligibility moving forward. Even if a player doesn’t declare by April 14, he can still declare up until April 26, but will not have the option of pulling out of the draft if he declares after April 14.
This year’s NBA draft combine is scheduled for May 12-17 and team-specific workouts will occur in the weeks leading up to the draft on June 25.
After a freshman season that saw him start and play significant minutes, it was clear Williams had work to do in order to take the next step as a player. And in Montreal and Ottawa, we saw the first signs of Williams showing off better ball handling, more confidence shooting the ball and more willingness to mix it up on the glass.
The transformation became more apparent once the regular season began as Williams, who missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension, improved his numbers across the board.
On the glass, he led the Hoosiers in rebounding at 7.4 per game and finished the season as the fourth best defensive rebounder in the Big Ten from a percentage standpoint. Williams had eight games of 10 or more rebounds and six double-doubles, which led the team.
OMAHA, Neb. – Tom Crean, Yogi Ferrell, Nick Zeisloft, James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams addressed the media earlier today at the CenturyLink Center in advance of Indiana’s game tomorrow
THE MODERATOR: Nick Zeisloft, James Blackmon, Jr., Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell represent the student body of the Indiana Hoosiers. They’re the No. 10 seed in the Midwest region; they’re out of the Big 10 conference, they will play No. 7 Wichita State in Friday’s second game.
Q. Yogi, as you look at Wichita State, what are some of the things that they present that make them a difficult match for you guys? What makes them good?
YOGI FERRELL: One thing about their team is they’re a very solid team. They’ve got basically five solid positions, and that’s what makes them such a great team. They start junior and seniors, so they’re obviously a lot more experienced than we are. They’ve got great 3-point shooters; they’ve got great post presence. Like I said before, just a great experienced team.