Williams works out for Pacers, wants to make draft decision soon #iubb

INDIANAPOLIS — There was a battle-worn look to Troy Williams after the long morning workout, with a patch of dried blood smeared across the front of his white practice jersey.

“Nothing I’m not used to,” Williams said.

And certainly nothing that seemed to slow him during his latest opportunity to impress the NBA decision makers that watched him during Tuesday’s Indiana Pacers workout at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The pre-draft process is nearing the home stretch for Williams, who has a week to decide whether he will stay in the NBA draft or return to IU for his senior year.

That decision doesn’t seem to be weighing on Williams, even as feedback from those decision makers appears mixed and the May 25 deadline looms. No, the IU forward is staying patient despite what appears to be a murky road toward an immediate NBA future.

“I don’t see it as life or death or anything,” Williams said. “I’m just having fun with it and enjoying it all.”

The Pacers are the 11th franchise to meet with Williams, who is scheduled to be in Los Angeles Wednesday and Thursday for workouts with the Clippers and Lakers before making another stop in New Orleans on Monday.

Williams maintains that he’s “50-50” about his future, saying he’s not necessarily leaning one way or the other. Whichever way he goes, Williams would prefer to find a resolution soon, perhaps before he steps foot in Louisiana next week.

“I’m not trying to wait (until the deadline),” Williams said. “I’m trying to get it over with.”

To do so, Williams is considering all angles.

In the classroom, Williams said earning his degree in recreation sports management is important to he and his family, and he says he’s only a couple classes and an internship shy of completing his coursework.

On the court at IU, he also recognizes he’d play a major role on a defending Big Ten title team expected to open the season as the favorite to win it again.

“It’ll be a top-10 team, for sure,” Williams said.

Should he stay in the draft, the dots are much tougher to connect.

Although a first-round selection appears out of reach this year, Williams said a couple teams have given him first-round feedback. Even without the high-end grade he sought at the beginning of the spring, Williams seems content with the direction his pre-draft process has taken.

Should he decide to stick with the draft, Williams said he is “super confident” that he would be selected.

“Especially with everything that I’ve been hearing,” Williams said. “I have great reviews and (have heard) great, positive things. Now it just falls on me.”

Analysts panned his performance at last weekend’s combine, chiding his decision-making and recklessness. But Williams insists the feedback behind closed doors has been more supportive.

He’s not paying attention to mock drafts — few, if any, have Williams getting drafted in either round — focusing instead on the remaining workouts on his schedule.

For one, Williams is trying to show the improvements he’s made with his jumper. With new Pacers coach Nate McMillan, assistant Popeye Jones and president of basketball operations Larry Bird, among others, all watching Tuesday, Williams hit six consecutive 3-pointers at one point during the portion of practice open to reporters.

Williams is also trying to prove he has the capacity to make better decisions with the ball in his hand. To do so, Williams is making an effort to play with his head up, while dribbling less.

“They know what you can do and they know what you can’t do,” Williams said. “They want to see how well you can use your strengths to your advantage.”

Williams sees himself in the mold of Golden State’s Andre Iguodala and Denver’s Will Barton, believing he has something to offer an NBA team willing to take a chance on him.

He’s visualized an NBA future since his childhood, when he followed his uncle’s AAU teams around the country, and if the NBA is indeed the level Williams decides to reach for within the next week, it will be because he believes he’s ready.

“Growing up, I always thought about it,” Williams said. “Now, I’m just a step closer to it. I’m just taking it all in, learning from it, benefitting from it and taking it one day at a time.”

8 comments

  1. I just can’t see him coming back to school. But if he decides that’s what he wants to do — and that’s a very big if — there’s a slight problem: there’s no scholarship available.

  2. It always seems to work itself out somehow. I doubt he comes back though. I read where he will have his degree in hand sometime this month. Time to make some money and pay off debts.

  3. Does any of this sound like anyone is suggesting to Troy that he should remain in the draft? I can’t help but wonder if his decision goes beyond just basketball. Perhaps the opportunity is difficult for him to pass up right now for whatever reasons.

    Most of the things that seem obvious on the surface go way beyond what we’ll ever really know.

  4. What does that have to do with Troy Williams going to the NBA or returning to school?

  5. Well, I didn’t think it should go into a baseball or football thread. Marquis games can potentially influence the decision process of a player or recruit. Match-ups between storied programs rich in tradition offer great viewership. Boring games against cupcakes don’t do a ton for showcasing skills against the best. Some of that visibility could definitely enter into Troy’s decision.

    Now go suck an egg.

  6. Why would a game with former Braves-Cardinals-Cubs-Rockies-Nationals-Diamondbacks-Twins-Padres pitcher Jason Marquis have anything to do with whether or not Troy Williams comes back to IU? For that matter, why would marquee games enter into his decision? And for the record, I did have an egg for breakfast this morning — two of ’em.

    No go learn how to spell.

  7. Wow..My bad on the spelling. You’re a sly one…You attacked my harmless off-topic post because you were baiting(you saw the original spelling error). I used to see your name on the LiveChats. I recall you being full of snide apologist remarks there as well.

    We all know Troy’s chances of getting into the first or second round of the draft are barely zilch. This is really a non-topic….and I thus offered something more interesting.

    But since we’re talking stretches, marquee games do offer a major plus for any true competitor to look forward. Real possibilities at getting deep into tournaments offer added inspiration. Having a coach that seeks those challenges/games/opportunities(along with not insulting the fans with extremely weak and boring teams on the nc schedule) adds to any experience. Having a coach with the X’s and O’s skills to get his talent to the biggest stages(e.g. Elite 8s and Final Fours) adds extra notoriety for a borderline NBA prospect and the program as a whole.
    Troy’s confidence in having a coach who can outshine his elite teaching peers and take a team beyond a Sweet 16 may still be so low a probability as to make rolling the dice at his draft chances worth the risk. There is always playing overseas(which, again, may be a less risky option than a wasted season topping out at nothing more visible than a Sweet 16 appearance or a possible season-ending injury). The longer they stay at IU, the more they realize the chances of banners and playing on the final weekend of the college basketball season are the biggest pipe dream of all.

    Now suck some more breakfast.

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