The Curious Case of Terrence Williams

K.C MynkCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2009

No player in college basketball is more of an enigma than Terrence Williams.

Williams loves to shoot three pointers but rarely makes them, but he's six-seven, loves to rebound, and bang around with players six inches taller.

He's a small forward who defends point guards and a player viewed by many to be a ball hog who leads his team in assists.

A player who thrills the crowds at Freedom Hall with Jordanesque dunks, yet is just as likely to miss a wide open layup.

For years, Rick Pitino has spoken openly about how no player understands his game plans better than the man known as T-Will; however, the next game the Louisville coach is left baffled at his shot selection.

Trash talking, tats blazing, and ripped to the point that a Syracuse fan commented that nobody would want to meet him in a street fight, yet one of the most soft-spoken and engaging interviews in college basketball.

There has never been a player in memory who has been both as beloved or as hated by Louisville fans as Terrence Williams.

When Louisville wins Williams is the catalyst, the ultimate "stat sheet stuffer" and a player who will literally do anything needed for the Cardinals to win. However, when Louisville loses, it's because T-Will took too many bad shots or had too many turnovers.

At the end of Williams career, he will find himself ranked in the top 20 all-time at U of L in points, top 10 in rebounds and steals, and top five in assists and minutes played.

This season, he leads the team in rebounds (9.3 a game from the small forward position), assists (4.7 a game and has 31 more than any other player on the roster), and steals (2.5, the next Cardinal on that list has 21 fewer). Not to mention a team leading 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

However, at the end of the day no star player in the country is as bad a shooter as Terrence Williams who averages around 33 percent from behind the arch.

It seems impossible that the best player on a top 10 team, who very well might be the Big East Player of the Year averages only 13 points a game and shoots such a terrible percentage.

That is, if you measure value solely by scoring.

There are probably three-dozen better scorers in the Big East than Williams, but what T-Will does well is simply put everything but scoring.

No other small forward in the league rebounds or passes as well as Williams, he can also handle the ball, and defend four positions on the floor.

The biggest value in Terrence Williams comes in things that can't be measured on a stat sheet, intensity, and the ability to make players around him better.

Williams isn't your prototypical "lockdown" defender (Preston Knowles gets that award for Louisville), but he simply refuses to allow his man an open look. He's not the type of player you would expect to average nearly 10 boards a game, but he refuses to be blocked out.

While even as big of a Williams fan as myself will admit he takes too many ill-advised shots, he has a knack for finding the open man and distributes the ball better than most point guards in the Big East Conference.

Terrence Williams may not be a scorer like Harrangody, a flashy guard like Flynn, or a defense intimidator like Thabeet, he just simply the best all-around player in the Big East.