Buckeye Hoops: Who's the X-factor?
The question is out there as the Buckeyes hoops squad gears up for the 2013-14 season. LaQuinton Ross comes into the season with the highest expectations because they need his scoring. The expectations might be too high, because we're basing it off of one tournament outburst. But fair or not, the expectations are there for him.
Aaron Craft is naturally expected to be the leader. He's going to provide the same thing he's given the team for three years: tough defense, grit, intensity, some scoring.
Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson will be go-to-guys as well.
But if I'm looking for a real X-factor on this team, a guy who can change the team's make-up and raise its ceiling if he plays well....it's big man Amir Williams.
Williams is going into his third season, and he got significant playing time in his sophomor campaign. But aside from his outburst in the Michigan game he still left a lot to be desired. I for one didn't think his level of play last season warranted him being in the starting rotatation. But I understand why he was. You're trying to build his confidence and show him that you have certain expectations. And on top of that...who else are you going to play?
You have a former Mickey D's All-American who averaged 3.5 points and 3.9 rebounds last year. The Buckeyes need much more. And if he can't get it done, it's Trey McDonald or bust. But there's already some positivity about Amir's game coming into his junior season. Ari Wasserman of the Plain Dealer and friend of The Buckeye Show took these notes about Williams in the Buck's open practice:
Amir Williams’ hands seemed to be greatly improved. Though it was only for an hour, Williams was handling the ball quite well in the paint. Last year he had a hard time with losing control of the ball, but there was one play where Craft rocketed a pass into the paint before the big man handled it cleanly and finished the layup over Trey McDonald.
I like hearing it. Now I can't wait to see it.
In a game.