Grant Williams was recruited to Tennessee and made his impact felt the first day he made it to Knoxville. It wasn’t as glorious of a recruiting trip for Grant though.
Williams came into the former SEC powerhouse with a lot of extra weight and not very high expectations. Yale and Wofford were two Universities that were high on Williams out of high school. Suffice it to say, not many of the top tier programs were interested in Grant. Williams told Jeff Goodman that every school told him that his body language on the court and his shot selection gave him the perception of being a lazy player.
Davidson’s Bob McKillop was honest with WILLIAMS in high school when he asked coach what he needed to do to improve his game, it was simple. “He told me i didn’t work hard enough to play at the next level,” Williams said.
Williams was a player that did not take his conditioning as serious in High School and it discouraged a lot of major schools. He took that as motivation and it’s greatly worked in his favor ever since.
Grant Williams entered this year at Tennessee after receiving SEC Player of the year honors last year as a sophomore. His next step was to prove that he had everything it took to become a prototypical power forward in today’s NBA. The one thing he surely loves is using that deadly spin move that virtually makes him unguardable against smaller defenders.
Fellow Basketball Society contributor Alex Sadwick touched on Williams’ unique ability to draw fouls in his scouting report. The Charlotte native had his most impressive game on national television against Vanderbilt in late January where he shot a perfect 23 of 23 from the free throw line…
Yes, you read that correctly.
He was the first player since Arlen Clark of Oklahoma State to hit 24 free throws in a game when he did it back on March 7 in 1959! It was an amazing game in which he finished with 43 points and one where he officially put the country on notice.
Proud of my school Vanderbilt for taking arch rival and No.-1-ranked Tennessee to overtime. Grant Williams is no Zion Williamson but tonight the reigning SEC POY was a 1-man wrecking crew, power+skill. Made 23-23 FTs and scored 43! Strong.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 24, 2019
This game might be the one that finally gets Grant Williams the attention he deserves outside SEC country.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) January 24, 2019
Grant’s efficient scoring has been on display this whole season. Through 25 games he is shooting 60.4% from the floor and he has also become an improved rebounder as well. Williams defensively has to improve to become a force in the NBA. At 6’7 he will have to become a much better defender and most importantly work on his stance. Alex mentioned in the Williams scouting report that Williams will preferably play small forward at the next level, but he has to work on his lateral quickness for that to happen. He has the size to defend but he must improve his footwork.
To become a small forward at the next level he must become more comfortable dribbling up the court. He spends most of his time in the corners and on the block in Knoxville. He must also find a way to include and incorporate the three point shot into his arsenal if he plans on being successful at the next level.
Williams only finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds in a blowout loss at Rupp arena to Kentucky on Saturday that left a bad taste in his mouth for sure. Grant will definitely come out and play with a killer mentality against Vanderbilt, a team determined to make up for the career game that Williams posted on them in late January.
Constant progression is one of the most important attributes that a collegiate player can show to convince us that he is ready for the next level. Williams, in his Junior year, has shown everybody that he will continue to work hard and make strides to become an even more efficient and consistent player at the next level. Williams could be the next draft sleeper success story, that a playoff team should take a chance on and be surprised by his success.
With all of this talk about Grant Williams needing to be a small forward to succeed in the NBA, remember that this is a player that has constantly been doubted his entire career. Grant isn’t going to have the mindset that he needs to be a 3 to make it in the NBA. He’s going to go in there with that same killer instinct that made him a SEC Player of the Year. You can doubt him all you want, but trust me when I say that if he isn’t picked in the lottery, a lot of NBA teams are going to be regretting their decision. There are many college teams who currently have those similar regrets.