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Player review: Darien Williams

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A look back at an abbreviated year for an anticipated player.

Darien Williams Wendell Cruz

We've been planning to look back at each player of last season, thinking about what they did well and did poorly, and how they'll fit in for next year.

With that format we're going to use for these player reviews in mind, it's important to note that format doesn't really apply to Darien Williams, who sat out most of last season injured. What can he do on the court? Where will he fit? It's hard to say. Much like Malik Ellison, he started off with a passive role early, one that didn't seem sync with the junior college scorer we saw in the stats.

But shoulder injuries have slowed him down, and our look at his game is therefore speculative.

But let's discuss anyway.

By the numbers

Season
G
MP
eFG%
FT%
DRB%
BLK%
TOV%
USG%
PF/ 40
Pts/G
Min %
2015-16
3
49
0.500
0.750
18.2
4.3
27.5
10.6
3.3
3
0.408

Three things about Darien Williams

He played 49 minutes.

He played three games.

He was a little averse to shooting in the three games, mustering only two shots per game in 16 minutes per contest. And all of those shots were three-pointers.

He did snag eight rebounds; and given those opportunities, he had the team's best defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 18% of opponent misses, for what it's worth.

Which isn't to say we have any idea about how good Williams is or what he can contribute to St. John's in his second year. Williams, the junior from San Francisco, came with some publicity and was slated to go to Iowa State before he came to St. John's. Does that mean he has potential to be the explosive paint presence the Johnnies could use? Does it mean he is an excellent complement to Kassoum Yakwe?

We have no idea. He only played three games.

He's recovering from another procedure on his shoulder, and has had a number of shoulder surgeries in the past. We don't have a lot of folk wisdom-level guidance about the retun from multiple shoulder injuries in basketball - that kind of injury is more common in baseball, golf, maybe football. But the shoulder and the arm is pretty crucial to shooting the ball and rebounding.

Looking forward

Williams will hopefully return to help a squad that has capable centers in Yankuba Sima and Tariq Owens, a capable forward in Kassoum Yakwe who could be an explosive force, a talented wing who can likely play power forward in Richard Freudenberg (though he gives up some weight), whatever Amar Alibegovic can provide,  and possibly a grad transfer post player in Anthony Livingston who should be able to play both spots.

It's not as if the team is depending on Darien Williams's comeback.

But for a player who came in with so much promise - the ability to rebound, be an explosive scorer, and be the team's lead vegan (it says he's a vegan in his bio! Really!) - here's hoping he can realize his on-court dreams and get a chance to play in the Big East, show what he can do and how he can compete.

He should have at least two years of eligibility left, but can't be faulted if he chooses to check out professional opportunities after this year; the clock is ticking on time to get paid for basketball, especially given repeated surgeries on the same area of his body.

Certainly, one question about Williams is whether he is the low-usage player (he took up 11% of possessions) of last year - a surprise, since he seemed like a player comfortable with putting up 20+ shots a game in Junior College. Maybe he was feeling some pain. Maybe he was getting acclimated to the major college game. Maybe he was deferring to Federico Mussini and the team's guards.

What will we see next year? We're hoping for some solid minutes, a mature body that can rebound, and the kind of player willing to take a variety of roles while the younger core coalesces.

And if he wants to drop 20 points on Syracuse, abusing them from the corner with threes, we're on board for that as well.

Just as long as he recovers from his shoulder setbacks.