As a sophomore, Grant Williams was recognized as one of the top basketball players not only in the SEC, but also in all of college basketball. And because of that, he has some high expectations placed on him heading into his junior year this upcoming season.
Andy Katz of NCAA.com posted a video listing his top returning players for the upcoming 2018-19 college basketball season, and Williams nearly made the top 10 of his list. Katz placed Williams, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, as his No. 11 returning player in all of college basketball.
“He’s an outstanding young man, high character,” Katz said of Williams. “He’s developed his game to where he’s become a much more consistent scorer and rebounder.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) July 3, 2018
Last season, Williams led the Vols in scoring at 15.2 points per game and was second on the team behind Admiral Schofield in rebounds per game with six per contest. And he apparently did all that with an injured back for most of the season.
But Williams isn’t taking credit for his strong sophomore campaign. Instead, he says his coaches and teammates are responsible for his surge in production last year.
“I attribute my success to my coaching staff and also to my teammates because without them I wouldn’t be the player I am today,” Williams said. “We work hard every day and we continue to work hard and get better. Most of my success comes from them and learning from them.”
Tennessee as a team last year was one of the best at setting others up for success. The Vols’ 550 assists as a team last season ranked 30th in all of college basketball (there are over 350 division I college basketball teams in the NCAA). Their 271 assists in SEC play was tops in the conference.
Williams’ success was due in large part to Tennessee’s ability to spread the wealth last season and set each other up with good shots. If that continues into this next year, Williams could improve his already solid numbers through two years as a Vol.
Last season, Williams averaged 15.2 points, six rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and 76.4 percent from the free throw line.
Through two years of play at Tennessee, Williams already has 933 career points and 400 career rebounds. With another year like last season, he’ll be right on the cusp of being in the top-15 all-time at Tennessee in both those categories.