Williams working for consistency

The comparisons to Victor Oladipo won’t cease as long as Troy Williams is playing basketball in Bloomington.

IU coach Tom Crean drew another this week.

Crean took time during Thursday’s practice to remind Williams of Oladipo’s first two seasons at Indiana, when the rangy and raw guard would rely too much on his athleticism to get to the rim rather than getting there as a basketball player.

Now, Crean and company are hoping Williams can learn much the same as Oladipo did to take his game to the next level.

“When you have a player like that, you have to continue to get them to understand how fundamental they have to be, and not just rely on athleticism,” Crean said. “He’s been able to rely on athleticism to a pretty high rate for a long time, but now we need that athleticism to come out more in the rebounding side. We need that athleticism to come out on the defensive side.”

For comparison’s sake through 39 career games, Williams has played 120 minutes more than Oladipo to this point, with both players averaging just a shade over eight points per game through that span. Williams has 18 more rebounds and 13 more turnovers, starting 36 of the first 39 games of career, while Oladipo started only 12 at this point. Oladipo was shooting 53 percent (118-for-220) through 39 games, while Williams is at 52 percent (121-for-230).

But outside of a 19-point, nine-rebound effort in a loss to Eastern Washington, Williams has done little to establish any consistency on either the offensive or defensive ends of the floor this season. Williams has been too prone to playing wild and straying from the concepts of the offense. His drives have been equally wild, and while he’s only averaging around two turnovers per game, his out of control lobs to the basket have been just as costly as a turnover. He has reached double figures in each of the seven games he has appeared in since serving a four-game suspension, but has not yet achieved the level of poise that would make him a reliable threat.

Crean says Williams is showing improvement as a player who’s able to get behind defenses and attack along the baseline, but the IU coach wants to see a more tenacious rebounder, among other areas of growth. Those things will come, Crean says, once Williams learns how to make the game simpler without losing the athleticism and attributes that made him such an intriguing prospect to begin with.

“One of the strengths of this program is to take athletes and make them better basketball players and to take basketball players and make them better athletes,” Crean said. “Troy has a chance to be outstanding in both. But, he’s got to continue to work at all those things that matter the most, which is getting to the glass, defending, running the court consistently, running to the glass.”