2014-2015 Player Profile: Troy Williams

  • 10/14/2014 7:02 am in

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.

On the other side of the ball, Williams has the ability to wreak havoc with steals and deflections leading to scores for either himself or teammates, something Crean noted after the McGill game.

“I thought this was a good statistic for the guys to see – the two leading deflectors at halftime were also the two leading scorers,” Crean said. “The best facilitator of the game in the first half was Troy Williams; he was also the leading scorer and the leading deflector. The more they can learn that those things really, really do matter and they really do carry over – it doesn’t matter where you’re playing, when you’re playing or who you’re playing – it just matters that you do those things.”

Bottom Line: With Yogi Ferrell back in the fold and new additions James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson capable of knocking down shots, Williams won’t need to lead the Hoosiers in scoring each night. As frontcourt questions linger, it’s also possible he could see a fair amount of time at the four, where he’ll need to help on the boards and possibly guard bigger opponents. Expect Williams to be improved, though not without room for growth as he continues to learn the college game.

Quotable: “We won’t be the biggest, but we will be one of the quickest. We’ve got multiple threats. We’ve got shooters, we’ve got drivers. We’ve got people who can shoot or drive … I definitely have the ball more and I’m making more plays for people … I feel like it’s definitely 50-50 [between slashing and shooting], plus a little bit of having the ball in my hands coming down the court.” — Williams after Monday’s practice.

Previous: James Blackmon Jr., Max Hoetzel, Robert Johnson, Tim Priller, Jeremiah April, Emmitt Holt

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  • Knuckledrager

    I love this kid. I think he’s a future hall of famer. With improved ball handling and his natural athletic abilities it’s a no brainer. Go Hoosiers.

  • Hoosier Hall

    His posterizing facials and put-back dunks will be even more fun to watch if his decision making and defense have improved. His 3 biggest highlights for me last season were the put back slam on Syracuse, his big game against Washington and the huge and-one dunk on Jordan Morgan.

  • hoosierfan2336

    Since he couldn’t dribble to save his life last year, it will be great to see his improvements in ball handling to hopefully match his quickness and pure athleticism. He really started to come on strong toward the end of last year and I like what I’ve heard and seen coming out of Canada. We will desperately need Troy to play a lot of minutes and stay healthy this year.

  • So many x-factors with this team. Williams potential is through the roof, but can he deliver? Same goes for hanner. If those two guys can have break out seasons the sky is the limit. With an all American backcourt and a front court with freak athleticism…this could be a final four team….on the other hand it could be a team that doesn’t make the post season. The potential is there, but is the chemistry, work ethic, and coaching?

  • hoosierfan2336

    I think we are a bubble team at best this year. With the exception of yogi, we are still a team full of young guys still trying to figure out their role. I think it should be a fun team to watch though. Very similar to crean’s old teams at Marquette.

  • SCHoosier

    Troy has a huge upside on offense. My concern is the quote from TC over the summer about his defense . Something like “Ask Bo Ryan who WIS wanted to go at every time they had the ball” (something like that) In other words..WIS was convinced Troy couldn’t defend anyone. To me that;’s the key to his court time..D and rebounding. Think of some of the great 3 and 4 position players Troy may have to defend this year. If TW’s total game is improved he could be second to Yogi in minutes played .

  • ForeverIU

    Troy is going to be a top 15 sophomore draft pick (ask nbadraft dot net), ranked #10 in the nation among sophomores. I think soon our worries will change from “Will he deliver?” to “Will he stay?”. Enjoy every minute of his hopefully not-so-brief sojourn with us folks.

  • gohoosiers09

    I want to agree with you but i feel he has so many aspects of his game to improve on. I know the NBA is a lot about athleticism, but i dont see him leaving after this year….but who knows!

  • ForeverIU

    He’s been working on strength (needless to say) and his 3-pt shot. He recently tweeted that he had recorded 3-pt shot #10,000 (presumably since the end of last season?).

  • N71

    If we look at our development system guys emerge their sophomore seasons. James, even as an All American, is still going to struggle with freshman issues, turnovers in particular. Troy though sure seems positioned for a big year. I’m curious if more attention shouldn’t be given to Stan versus Rob and James. Stan is positioned now for a sophomore breakout but I’ve not heard much about his development other than he’s switched shooting hands.

  • CreamandCrimson

    An article from Rick Bozich mentioned that Troy had worked with IU assistant coaches and developed a plan to improve his shot. The article said that the plan was to make 10,000 3-pointers in the offseason and that he recently reached his goal.

    An effective 3-point shot (I still want him to mainly rely on his quickness, length and athleticism to get to the rim) will make the rest of his game much more effective and dangerous than it was last season.

  • ForeverIU

    Thanks! I wonder what his 3-pt % was, especially towards the end.

  • ForeverIU

    Absolutely! 100%. Priority should be given to Stan and all of our veterans, I mean in terms of game presence and contribution.

  • Ole Man

    Don’t know where that info came from but NBA draft express says he is not in the picture and needs improvement in every area. So, I think he’s here at least through his Jr. season.

  • ForeverIU

    www . nbadraft . net/top-ncaa-15-sophomores

    Remove the spaces, lol.

  • HoosierGrampy

    9 years @ Marquette = 5 invites to the Dance. 6 years @ IU = 2 invites to the Dance…TC remains a work in progress.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Chemistry = check. Work ethic = check. Coaching = ???

  • inLinE6

    I watched him switching hands in Canada. He made some shots on both hands. But once he missed, he switched to the other hand… That made it hard to defend him, but confused himself as well… I hope he can figure it out soon….

  • HoosierGrampy

    I look forward to seeing our version of the Human Highlight Film…

  • HoosierMitch

    You can knock out the first two years @ IU. He came into nothing with little to no chance to recruit. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but I as a lifetime Hoosier fan expect us to make the dance every year

  • REV D

    Dude, I bet you couldn’t name 7 positive things about Crean. If you are that displeased with OUR coach go be a pUKe fan. Sickens me that we have fans that post this stuff when we have high school kids (and their parents) reading our public forums. If you can’t express yourself at the bar at least have the decency to pay for the premium forum to air your dirty laundry.

  • HoosierGrampy

    I believe that any coach who comes into a new situation should have at least as long as it takes (4 yrs normally) to get “his” players on the floor before any real evaluation occurs. If progress occurs sooner it’s a bonus, but early success does not necessarily or automatically validate the coach as an excellent hire. Said it before that I believe that TC is a good recruiter, decent motivator and an all-around nice guy. I do not think he has the charisma or coaching strengths necessary to take IU back to elite status. I’ve been wrong before, though. Might be this time, as well.

  • HoosierGrampy

    1. My first name is Bill, not Dude.
    2. Considered to be a very good talent evaluator; good recruiter; decent motivator; good at developing players who are willing to put in the work; family-oriented–likes to include potential recruits in the IU “family”; honest and candid with reporters; enthusiastic & focused in games.
    3. Whether I like or dislike TC Is none of your business. You are entitled to your voice opinions here, and so am I. I really don’t care what sickens you or what makes you feel good. I happen to respect what he did to resurrect Sampson’s debacle and the way he went about it. I’m not stupid enough to say that no one else could have done the same, but the line for volunteers/candidates was not full of very many notable coaches in 2008.
    4. I lived in Lexington, KY for 25 years and want absolutely nothing to do with that city or school. I was transferred there for business. Moving there was one of the worst decisions I ever made. Staying for so long was another bad call on my part.
    5. I have no control over who reads these posts. as with any social media, there will be supporters/cheer leaders and dissenters/protagonists. Where I choose to express myself is my business. I don’t drink so the bar is not a viable option. If you care to pay for the premium forum, I’d be happy to put a comment there.
    6. If you consider every comment which suggests or implies that TC might just have a few things to improve upon to become an elite coach, then you’ll find a lot of laundry around here. BTW, the phrase “dirty laundry” is redundant. If clothes are clean, they aren’t laundry.

  • hoosierfan2336

    Okay? IU isn’t what they were in the 70s and 80s and likely never will be. Nearly everyone has moved on. It’s time to be realistic.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Duke, Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Syracuse & Ohio State among others, bear little similarity to the teams they put on the court in the 70s or 80s either. Arguably every one of them is better today than they’ve ever been. Just because IU is not among the elite today is not to say that they cannot be. The reality some seem unwilling to accept is that TC may not be the one to lead us back to relevancy…and he just might be the right guy in the right place. Time will be the ultimate judge.