Indiana Daily Student

Williams seeing the floor better, limiting turnovers

<p>Sophomore forward Troy Williams dribbles the ball during Saturday's game against Grand Canyon University at Assembly Hall.</p>

Sophomore forward Troy Williams dribbles the ball during Saturday's game against Grand Canyon University at Assembly Hall.

Troy Williams says he can see the whole court now — even an extra two feet of it.

“Definitely since I’ve been working out over the summer into now, I can see more,” he said. “I don’t have just the tunnel vision to the rim. I can see the whole court, all 96 feet.”

A basketball court is 94-feet long, but the point stands.

The self-described “turnover machine” of a season ago has appeared less and less frequently this year, replaced by a more mature version of the sophomore forward.

The new Williams was on full display Saturday evening when he put on his best performance of the season. The sophomore scored 14 points and picked up a team-high eight rebounds.

Most importantly, he didn’t commit a turnover in 21 minutes.

“It feels good not to have no turnovers, not be a turnover machine,” he said.

Williams entered Saturday averaging 1.9 turnovers per game, a touch above his rate from last season. He had just turned the ball over three times in 24 minutes against Louisville.

He put that behind him against Grand Canyon.

“Troy Williams, to play a game like that when he’s being aggressive and to not have a turnover, strong, really responded from the other day,” IU Coach Tom ?Crean said.

From the Hoosiers’ first possession, a different Troy Williams was apparent. After IU won the tip, Williams received a pass at the top of the key and beat his man, finishing with an easy layup.

Seeing Williams get to the rim and finish was nothing new. The difference was the way he did it. He stayed on balance and didn’t end up on the floor, as he does ?so often.

“When Troy gets a layup to start the game, totally under control, that’s what we need from him,” Crean said.

He also showed a greater willingness to kick out from the paint rather than try and finish through multiple defenders.

Crean said watching Williams get into the lane and make a pass was like “watching Peyton Manning or Brett Favre zinging it.”

Williams’ eight rebounds placed him in a tie with junior guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell as IU’s leading rebounder. As a 6-foot-7 forward, he’s often fighting for position against bigger, more physical opponents.

No problem, he said. Williams and junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea have figured out how to use their agility to pick up loose rebounds.

“We’ve got the most athleticism on the team to get those rebounds,” Williams said. “We are quicker than most big men are, so we’ve just got to use our athleticism and quickness to get more rebounds.”

Now, the task for Williams is to make the changes stick. It’s one thing to play this way against Grand Canyon. To do it against a Big Ten competition is another job entirely.

“Will it be consistent?” Crean said. “It has to grow to be consistent, but if you see today, you know it’s there, and you know he has a chance to continue ?that way.”

Crean thinks Williams has a chance to be special, and he knows about turning hyper-athletic, turnover-prone wings into elite players. Former IU guard Victor Oladipo was the same way.

Through 40 career games, Oladipo averaged 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 turnovers and an assist per game.

Williams just finished his 40th career game. His career averages stand at 8.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 turnovers and just over an assist per game.

Like a young Oladipo, he has found limited success with his jump shot, relying on athleticism to get to the rim and finish.

Oladipo turned into a National Player of the Year and the No. 2 selection in the NBA Draft. It’s unclear if Williams’ ceiling is that high, but Crean sees further promise in him.

“A little bit sometimes with Troy, you’ve got to take the real fast Troy with the ‘I can still get it done at a fast pace without being blazing fast’ Troy,” Crean said. “When he understands that, he’s going to be really good.”

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