|Las Vegas Summer League Day Seven|
July 19, 2008
The young small forward has his second straight big game, doing a tremendous job taking advantage of the opportunities that he was presented with offensively. His shot selection has been solid in both of his big games, and while his form is better than it used to be, it is still surprising to see him shooting as well as he is from the field considering his previous struggles. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than his good shooting has been the amount of times was able to get to the line today despite not having great ball handling ability or a great first step. The assertiveness heís showed around the rim has been refreshing, and he used his length and athleticism to earn a handful of putbacks in traffic today in addition to his free throws. Obviously, Williamís shooting has made the game a lot easier for him overall, and it will be interesting to see how he responds in upcoming contests. Heís a player that hasnít shown many glimpses of potential since leaving Arizona, but if he continues to play like this heíll be in exponentially better position to make a team than he was as recently as four days ago. Despite his explosion in production, heís going to have to prove that these performances arenít a fluke to make up for just how low his stock was coming into this event.
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NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 64, Friday games)--Down/Neutral
March 16, 2007
Coming in as the leading scorer of Arizona, Marcus Williams didnít show enough leadership ability during crunch time and really didnít take the burden of scoring on himself when Arizona couldnít buy a bucket at the beginning of the 2nd half. The only part of the game where Williams shined was in the end of the first half when Arizona made a little run, but other than that he was very passive on offense and played poorly on the defensive end.
Williams clearly lost his matchup against Purdueís much-less hyped perimeter players, losing his man completely on three occasions to allow clean looks from mid-range and an easy layup under the basket. He clearly has the tools to play good defense, but his focus and concentration were not there today. Offensively, he showed his good first step and ball-handling ability by getting into the lane when he really attempted to, converting on two acrobatic layups in the process. His outside shot was not falling for him today, missing both three-point attempts and another two from mid-range. Williams didnít do a good job of creating shots for his teammates today either.
This performance certainly didnít help his stock, and good performances by other swingmen in the tournament could see his stock take a hit on some draft boards. Williams has enough athleticism and skills to be a starting caliber player in the NBA down the road, but he will need to improve his attitude a bit, trust his teammates more and take a better approach on the defensive end. Even with his poor performance and early exit in the Tournament, Williams is probably too good to fall out of the first round, but we will have to see how the early-entry list shakes out to fully determine that.
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NCAA Weekly Performers -- 1/18/07, Part Two
January 18, 2007
Arizonaís Marcus Williams had his best collegiate game on Thursday night, only to follow it up with an even better performance Sunday. After a very promising freshman season that left scouts salivating over his potential, Williams isnít disappointing as a sophomore, living up to all of the expectations as he takes hold of the feature role on his very strong Arizona squad. In the six games since conference play has begun, Williamsí point total hasnít dipped below 18, and heís set a new career best in each of his past two games.
In terms of NBA potential, itís tough to say thereís an area where Williams is lacking, besides the fact that he may not have a true bread and butter to his game. He has a solid frame, excellent length, good athleticism, and a skillset that already boasts inside, outside, and mid-range scoring. As for any question marks about him being able to be a go-to scorerÖ well, heís off to a very good start in answering those.
Williams projects to be a consummate NBA swingman, being versatile enough to do a little bit of everything NBA teams expect from the position. The most impressive aspect of his game thus far would probably be his mid-range game. Williams has excellent shooting form with a high and quick release, high elevation on his jump shot, and with his long arms, the release point on his shot is unblockable by most. He can get his shot off in an instant with very little space, and he uses a nice combination of crossovers and fakes to get the little separation he needs to get his shot off. Equally impressive is that heís able to get the shot off on the move when it would appear he doesnít have great balance, though he does a good job keeping his body upright even while moving. Heís not entirely consistent with this aspect of his game yet, but heís farther along with it than many players ever get, and considering heís shooting 54% from the field in a feature role this year, itís tough to get down on his shot selection.
Another area where Williams really excels is moving without the ball, specifically getting open underneath the basket by slipping behind the defense. He does this probably a handful of times every game, and even if he catches the ball on the baseline under the rim, he still usually manages to find a way to get the ball in the basket, using a combination of his length, flexibility, and his savvy in using reverse lay-ups and the backboard to score from places many other players canít. He also does a good job cutting through the lane without the ball, and shows a good touch around the rim, using his creativity to finish even in tight traffic.
Williams has range out to the college three-point line with his shot, but itís not a major staple of his game, as he usually favors the close and mid-range, where heís more reliable at this stage. His shooting form remains solid from the farther distance, though his percentage is only at 36% so far this year, down from 44% last year, albeit the sample size is relatively small. Heís shown flashes of range out to the NBA three-point line, but he will likely need to put in some extra gym work to make that a more consistent staple of his game when the time comes.
Williams has really made a concerted effort in the hustle areas this season, almost always being the first man out on fast breaks, attacking the board relentlessly with his length and leaping ability to help him, and anticipating and picking off the passing lanes on defense. Williams is a very versatile defender, as his length and lateral quickness allow him to guard pretty much any position on the floor, and his aggressiveness and solid understanding of fundamentals help him out here as well.
The way Williams is performing, if he keeps it up, he should be a virtual lock to be a top 20 pick in this yearís draft. With his skills, physical attributes, and approach to the game, itís very tough to see him not succeeding in some capacity in the NBA. Whether that is as a versatile swingman as a third or fourth option for a team or a legitimate go-to player is yet to be seen, but the way heís progressed over the past season and a half, thereís a very good chance he could reach his full potential.
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NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (round of 32, Sunday games)
March 20, 2006
Arizona is on their way home, but Marcus Williams made sure to give us a lot to look forward to next season. The 6í7 freshman played a great game against Villanova, hopefully giving us a preview of more to come in the future. There was no keeping Williams out of the lane on offense, as he got in there any way he could. Whether he was cutting without the ball or penetrating with it, Williams was around the basket all game long. He scored most of his points by taking it to the hole, but also showed flashes of a mid-range game. Williams had a nice variety of floaters and lay-ins, including one very impressive baseline drive finished by a reverse off the glass. He has a nice touch around the basket and was very adept at drawing contact to get to the free-throw line.
Defensively, despite spending the bulk of his minutes matched against players with point guard quickness, Williams did an admirable job containing the ĎNova guards. What he lacked in quickness he compensated for with length and intelligence, doing well to stay in front of whomever he was assigned to. Even when he lost his man, he could use his wingspan to poke the ball away from behind. He also managed to get his hands on a lot of passes and loose balls over the course of the game. Early in the second half, Williams was getting assigned to whichever guard was hottest, at one point shutting down Villanova guard Randy Foye for a few consecutive plays.
Williams never let up in effort the entire game. He was constantly hustling and fighting for boards, getting to the line a few times because of it. Williams does have some things he needs to work on, though, and should definitely come back for his sophomore season at Arizona. He would do himself well to improve his shot-creating ability, allowing him to play a greater role in the offense. He also could improve both his mid-range and outside shot. He had quite a few horrible misses from the outside today, though he is a 48% shooter from behind the arc on the season, on a very limited number of attempts. He also has a very thin frame and should work to add some extra strength, which would make him even harder to contain in the lane. All in all we are talking about a player with terrific potential both as a college player as well as an NBA prospect, and it will be fascinating to see what kind of role he assumes next year in Tucson.
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NCAA Tournament: Minneapolis Bracket NBA Draft Prospects
March 14, 2006
While Hassan Adams and Mustafa Shakur were the household names for Arizona heading into the season, it has been freshman Marcus Williams who has emerged as Lute Olson's top NBA prospect. Williams checks in at 6'8, but is most definitely a shooting guard at the next level. He doesn't blow by you off the dribble, but is very adept at pulling up in traffic for the midrange jumper. He can slash all the way to the basket, hit from distance, and handle the ball a little. You won't find many more complete offensive players in the freshman ranks.
The impressive thing about Williams is that he appears to be the one Wildcat that actually gets better when the game is on the line. He has the skill-set of a go-to scorer, and makes things happen in the clutch. While Williams isn't likely to have the type of tournament that would put him on the 2006 map, he is going to emerge as one of the nation's biggest stars over the next two seasons. If he were to lead Arizona to an upset of Villanova in the second round, Marcus Williams would become a household name overnight.
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In Case You Missed It...the Top Weekly Performers, 1/16-1/23
January 24, 2006
It hasn't been an easy season for Lute Olson and Arizona. The Wildcats struggled out of the gate, appeared to be righting the ship, and then floundered again as Chris Rodgers was kicked off the team and Jawann McClellan went down with a season-ending injury. Given the tendency of Arizona's upperclassman guards to fire away early in the shot clock, it hasn't been easy for a freshman like Marcus Williams to carve out a role within the offense. Nonetheless, Williams has emerged as a dependable second option to Hassan Adams in Pac-10 play, and is Lute Olson's most efficient scorer. Williams scored 15+ in four straight games to open conference play, and is shooting nearly 51% from the floor on the season. However, his best game of the season came last Thursday against Stanford.
With the Cardinal building momentum down the stretch, it was Williams that drove strong to the basket, hit silky smooth outside jumpers, and came up with crucial offensive rebounds. His driving lay-in with 14 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime, and another crucial basket with just over two minutes remaining in overtime put Arizona in the lead for good. Williams finished with 22 points on 9-13 shooting, including a perfect 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.
From an NBA perspective, there is a lot to like about Marcus Williams. At 6'7, he has ideal wing size, and is very much a pure shooting guard. Williams isn't the most explosive athlete out there, but everything about his game defines the term "smooth". He is very comfortable scoring off the dribble or pulling up in the midrange and is also shooting 47% from behind the arc. Take away one aspect of his game, and he will find a different way to beat you. While Williams will need to get quite a bit stronger before he is ready for the physical rigors of the NBA, he is already very much a factor on the glass for the Wildcats.
It is very easy to see Marcus Williams developing into a full-fledged star as early as next season. Consistency is a typical freshman issue that he will have to overcome (just 3-13 shooting in his most recent game, an Arizona win over California on Saturday), but Williams has all the tools to develop into a very special player.
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NBA Draft Stock Watch: Maui Invitational
November 28, 2005
Judging by his body and raw skill-set, itís certainly too early to start talking about true freshman Marcus Williams as an NBA draft prospect. Considering his attitude and the difference he made for his team, though, he probably deserves at least a mention for what he brought the Wildcats in the minutes they were forced to feed off him with the disappointing way their upperclassmen were performing. Williams used his long arms and quick feet to play outstanding defense on whoever he was unleashed against, with Michigan Stateís PG Drew Neitzel suffering the most from his efforts. Williams showed good shot selection (a rarity on this Arizona squad), nice passing ability and excellent off the ball-movement to free himself up for easy shots or dunks in transition and half-court sets. Going 0-7 from the free throw line is almost inexcusable for a guard playing at any level, but considering the attitude he showed in Maui, its fair to assume that Williams will be working extra hard on this part of his game.
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Adidas Derby Classic Recap
April 19, 2005
While he didn't show us too much at the Roundball, future wildcat had a very good showing at the Derby Classic. He could be described as a jack of all trades, master of none in that he handles, shoots, passes, and defends well, but not at a great level. He showed off a nice really jumper and solid ball handling skills for a small forward. I didn't really pay too much attention to his defense as I had to focus on players who are considering the draft this year. I see him contributing immediately at Arizona, and he should be a prospect with the development he should receive from Lute Olson and his staff.
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