BOZICH | Indiana's Troy Williams 50-50 on next season, but 100 percent unafraid of the D-League
Indiana forward Troy Williams will interview with seven NBA teams in Chicago this weekend and said he's not afraid to stay in the draft even if he does not project as a first-round pick.
CHICAGO (WDRB) -- Troy Williams said he remains split "50-50" on his choice between returning for his senior season at Indiana University or playing pro basketball next fall.
Williams repeated the "50-50" line even after I suggested the odds were closer to 100 percent that he will not be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft next month.
"It's not going to kill my pride or anything like that if I have to go to the D-League," Williams said. "That will make me work even harder."
If you interpret those two sentences as Williams actually leaning at least 50.1 percent toward leaving IU, then you’re standing with me because I'm convinced Williams wants to begin his against-the-odds push to the NBA sooner, not later.
Williams participated at the NBA Draft combine Thursday and will remain in the scrimmages and drills all weekend, trying to convince at least one of the 30 teams to invest a draft selection on him on June 23.
The second round, which does not come with guaranteed money, remains the most optimistic forecast. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas ranked him as the 84th best prospect in a draft that stops after 60 selections.
He interviewed with the Bucks, Lakers, Heat and Jazz Thursday and has sessions with representatives of Mavericks, Trailblazers and Grizzlies Friday. The Pacers have asked him to workout in Indianapolis next week before Williams flies to Los Angeles to drill for the Lakers and Clippers.
The only things that Williams promised are to chase his dreams relentlessly and make a decision before the May 25 deadline, likely as soon as next week.
If you're looking for another indicator of what Williams is thinking, he said he could still leave even if most of the feedback he receives is that he should stay at Indiana, where Tom Crean has already prepared for that possibility by filling all 13 scholarships.
"I'm the kind of guy that if I fall down seven times, I'll get up eight if I have to," Williams said. "Me falling down real hard, I'm still going to get back up and do the same thing.
"It’s like a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Williams improved every season in Bloomington, crediting Crean, the IU assistant coaches and conditioning staff.
"I went from being an athlete to becoming a basketball player," he said. "Coming in I was an athlete who didn’t really have a skill set.
"As a playmaker, being at Indiana I made a lot of plays. I was able to have the ball in my hands and I controlled the whole court."
Williams measured at 217.8 pounds stretched over his 6 feet 6 ¾ frame (with shoes). His percentage of body fat (10) was the ninth highest of the 60 players tested. His wing span? It measured at 6-8 ¼, even though it seems longer.
Measurements and athleticism have never driven the debate on Williams. He has professional ability, ability that was he reflected in his 13.3-point and 5.8 rebounding average for the IU team that won the Big Ten regular season title last season.
The reasons why Williams will not be taken in the first round and is likely to be skipped in the second round are basic: a high-arching, inconsistent jump shot; a team-leading 93 turnovers and defensive play that too often did not reflect his athleticism.
Williams can do better in those areas, although the most insulting thing that you can say to him is that he has the potential to do better. He nearly bristled at the question of his "potential."
"The thing that really bothered me was people saying potential, this or that," Williams said "That was the thing that bothered me.
"Potential doesn't really mean anything to me. It just means stuff that you have to work on either more."
True. But isn't crediting a prospect with potential better than saying a player lacks potential?
Williams nodded -- and smiled.
"At the same time, I view it as a negative that I have to work even more," Williams said.
"It means that I could be that player, but I'm not that player. It means I have things to work on."
What Williams has to work on now is his decision. He said that he lacked an internship as well as two classes to complete his undergraduate degree at IU. With the spring semester over, he is living in Houston while working out for former NBA coach John Lucas.
Williams that he will consult with Lucas, Crean, his uncle, prominent AAU coach Boo Williams, and his aunt (Auburn women's coach Terri-Williams Flournoy).
"But at the end of the day," he said, "it’s still my decision."
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