Grant Williams Listed Among College Basketball Elite

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    Yesterday, we looked at what anonymous coaches thought about Tennessee’s men’s basketball team as a whole heading into the 2018-19 season. Now those same group of coaches have given their thoughts on one of the Vols’ top players, and they have a very high opinion of him.

    Every year, CBS Sports does a “Candid Coaches” series where they poll college basketball coaches across the country on various subjects. They poll everyone from head coaches of blue blood programs to assistants of small Division I schools. This year, writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander polled over 100 coaches and granted them anonymity so as to get honest, unfiltered answers from them all.

    The two writers asked those more than 100 coaches which one player they think is the best in college basketball and who they want on their roster from another team heading into this season. And Tennessee’s Grant Williams was one of the top responses.

    Williams received nine percent of the votes from the 100-plus coaches, placing him only behind Duke’s R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson and Purdue’s Carsen Edwards. He was tied with Kentucky’s Reid Travis for the fourth-highest percentage of votes.

    One mid-major coach even thinks Williams would be an absolute beast in his conference.

    “He would average 25 points per game in our (mid-major) league,” said the anonymous mid-major coach. The two CBS writers also liked that Williams got so much love from coaches across the country.

    “Grant Williams getting so much love was nice to see,” Norlander added. “Tennessee’s got a highly respected team this season, and Williams is due a lot of great pub.”

    Williams won the SEC Player of the Year last year after a solid sophomore campaign that saw him average 15.2 points, six rebounds, and 1.9 assists while starting all 35 of Tennessee’s games last year. He figures to be an even bigger piece of the Vols’ team this year even as UT returns every key contributor from last year’s team and brings in four-star freshman forward D.J. Burns as well.

    Tennessee’s men’s basketball team as a whole is receiving a ton of praise and attention this offseason, but Grant Williams is the one player getting the spotlight the most on UT’s roster. And it’s clear from the voting by coaches around the country that he’s highly thought of by more than just Vol fans and the SEC media as well.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.