- 3.1 points per game
- 1.2 rebounds
- 0.5 steals
When the 2017-18 season began for the Cincinnati Bearcats, Keith Williams was poised to be an incredibly important freshman. From the opening tip against Savannah State, Williams was getting big minutes off the bench. In the first seven games, he averaged 15.9 minutes per game while getting at least 10 each time out. While he was held out for most of the next two games, there was a reason, as those contests were against Xavier and Florida. Following that stretch, Williams got back to his double digit minutes. Just not forever.
From Jan. 4 to the end of the year, Williams played more than 10 minutes only five times, as Trevor Moore overtook him as the first wing player off the bench. It was a pretty major fall for Williams, who scored 10 points in each of his first two games but then failed to reach double figures in the other 31 games he played. For a 6’5” shooting guard/small forward with a lot of scoring ability, it was not the best foot he could have put forward. Williams averaged 3.1 points per game while averaging 9.9 minutes per game overall.
While it would be folly to expect him to plaster scoring records all over the history books with such limited time on the floor, Williams could have done better, but he failed to be consistent with his shot. He knocked down only 38.5 percent of his field goal tries, including a pretty miserable 14.8 percent from beyond the arc. On top of that, on the rare times he got the the free-throw line, he made just a bit more than 50 percent. That equates to just a .404 effective field goal percentage and an 8.3 PER. He also had an offensive rating of just 84.2. Even if we are giving him the benefit of the doubt due to playing time scarcity, that is not the type of production that deserved more chances to play.
Sticking to offense, Williams’ poor shooting and scoring was exacerbated by the fact that he doesn’t really bring much else to the table on that side of the floor. He is not going to be a great distributor (0.4 assists per game) and his rebounding was fine (1.2 per game), but nothing overly impressive.
Luckily, Williams did at least show competence on defense, with a 90.5 defensive rating, while ranking second on the team in steal percentage (2.8).
The Best of the Best
Nov. 10, 2017 vs. Savannah State
In the season opener, Williams scored 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting in 15 minutes.
Nov. 13, 2017 vs. Western Carolina
Williams followed up a strong premiere with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting. However, belying the final stat line was an 0-for-8 effort from three-point range in his first three games.
Dec. 19 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
He didn’t make a three-pointer, but he did make 4-of-7 shots overall and finished with nine points
March 1, 2018 at Tulane
In a career-high 27 minutes, Williams only scored six points, but he matched a personal best with five rebounds while contributing two blocks, a steal and an assist.
For Next Year
Assuming Jacob Evans does get drafted into the NBA, there will be a giant vacuum in point production from the wing and Williams has a chance to help fill it. In order to do that, he needs to be a more efficient scorer and not just from three-point range. He flashed enough defensive might to earn him more minutes next year but to be a key contributor, or at least an effective one, polishing his offensive game should be at the top of his offseason to-do list.