Over the course of the season, DraftExpress will be breaking down prospects from the less heralded conferences across the NCAA, analyzing exactly what makes these players prospects, and why they may end up on the NBA radar.
Many of these prospects will face an uphill battle, but we will try to provide insight into what exactly separates those who make it and those who don't, while shedding light on some of the country's lesser-known players that could end up becoming second-round/training camp sleepers.
We'll look at both upperclassmen and underclassmen, analyzing players who are intriguing for the 2017 NBA Draft, as well as prospects who need more time to develop, but could be intriguing in the future. This week we break down Northeastern senior T.J. Williams, who plays in the Colonial League.
Williams was “just another guy” for the most part in his first three years at Northeastern, averaging 6.7 points and 2.8 assists as a junior. But with the departure of Quincy Ford and David Walker, he has taken over the keys to the Northeastern offense and exploded into one of the most productive guards in college basketball.
Moving to the point guard and taking over full-time ball-handling responsibilities has done Williams a world of good, allowing him showcase the ability to both score and create from that spot. He leads the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring at 21.5 points per game, but is also averaging 5.2 assists while shooting 56% from 2-point range and 38% from beyond the arc on 3.6 attempts per game.
Williams is more smooth than he is overly explosive, but has good size at the point guard position and his ability to create shots instinctually for himself and others and make jumpers from all over the floor should give him a shot at the next level. He changes speeds impressively in pick and roll situations, using both hands, showing excellent body control and overall pace to his game. He has a high release point on his jumper and very soft touch, making quite a few pull-ups from the mid-range and beyond the 3-point line,
Williams certainly has room for growth in terms of continuing to fine-tune his point guard skills, as he struggles to turn the corner at times and will get his shot blocked a decent amount inside the paint against better competition. Maintaining a consistent defensive effort will be a major emphasis for him at the pro level, as he really struggles to guard in space and leaves a lot to be desired with his intensity level.
Nevertheless, Williams has had a very impressive senior season and will undoubtedly get an invite to Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April, where he'll be able to show that his productivity can translate against better athletes. He had a very good game in a win at UConn earlier this season, and helped his team to an impressive victory at Michigan State (where his numbers were down), but hasn't had too many opportunities to line up against elite-level competition otherwise. Northeastern is just 6-4 in the Colonial league and will need to wrestle away a NCAA bid from two very good teams in UNC Wilmington and College of Charleston in the Conference tournament.