Tuesday, January 13, 2009

T-Will is Money

MONEY, I tell you.

24 points, 18 boards, 8 assists, 3 steals.

Terrence Williams is quickly rising to the top of all-time favorites of this blogger.

(Yes, I know I use the term “blogger” loosely.)

I’m talking top 5 favorites. Like DeJuan Wheat/Reece Gaines/LaBradford Smith/Francisco Garcia/Taquan Dean status. (Am I showing my age here?)

The man is the complete package. This season, T Will has showcased his ability to take over games when he’s needed.

At 6’6, he’s fifth in the Big East in rebounds, averaging 9.3 per game. The average height of the four dudes in front of him? Six feet ten inches.

T Will leads the team and is fifth in the conference in assists, averaging 5.0 per. That’s remarkable considering how poorly we’ve struggled at times getting the ball in the hoop. It’s also remarkable when you consider that T Will leads in this category over established guards known for their ability to create like Seton Hall’s Eugene Harvey, UConn’s A.J. Price, Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher, Marquette’s Jerel McNeal, ND’s Kyle McAlarney, and Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf. What’s that say about T Will’s unselfishness? About his court-awareness? About his ability to make his teammates better? (It’s a rhetorical question. Don’t answer.) And this isn’t something new. In 2007-08, T Will averaged 4.5 assists per game.

Critics say that we can’t be as good as we were last season without David Padgett because Padgett was our facilitator, our offense went through him. But Padgett averaged 1.3 assists last year, a far cry from T Will’s 4.5 or 5 per game. And not to take anything away from David Padgett, but T Will’s ability to create for his teammates extends beyond the high-low post; T Will draws double teams in the paint, he can lead a fast break, and he can find the open man on the wing and swing it to him as well as anybody in the country. I miss Padgett like a dear friend, but I’ll take an offense that’s run through Terrence Williams every day of the week and won’t lose any sleep at night.

His energy is limitless. He played 43 minutes last night and was still jumping out of the gym at the buzzer ending regulation, electrifying the crowd with another trademark T Will jam. This was two days after an exhilarating contest up in Philadelphia in which he was on the court for 35 minutes. He played 36 minutes against Kentucky and 40 against UNLV. We need him out there. And when he’s out there, he’s tireless.

Tenacious defense. Last night T Will had 3 steals against a well-coached, poised team that rarely turns the ball over. Oh, and by the way, he’s second in the conference in that category, averaging 2.4 per game. Better than Dominic James of Marquette. Better than DeJuan Blair of Pitt.

He’s in the top 25 in blocked shots in the conference. Ask Patrick Patterson about T Will’s ability to move shots. Hell, ask LeBron James.

When called upon, when we need him most, he scores. 24 points last night. Game-winner against Villanova. 19 against Kentucky. 17 against Minnesota. 20 against Austin Peay. (What? You don’t remember? We definitely needed him against Austin Peay.)

And he’s no longer the one-dimensional scoring threat of taking the ball to the iron and dunking. In years past a trey going up from T Will usually warranted a collective groan from those wearing red. Not so this season. After working on his J during the off-season and into this season with Coach Pitino, his form has dramatically improved and it’s evident: he’s in the top 30 in the Big East in 3’s knocked down. And they’re knocked down when it counts. Kentucky’s strategy against us was clearly to give T Will the green light and let him pop from beyond the arc. And pop he did, going 3 for 5 from long range.

Give him room and he’ll pull the trigger. Get in his face and he’s using his quickness to go around you. Play zone against him and he’s going to thread the needle to find the open man under the basket.
“Unstoppable” is spelled T-W-i-l-l.

T Will’s energy and passion for the game is contagious. He lights a fire up under his teammates. He’s a leader. He gets the crowd going. Every time the man leads a fast break, folks at Freedom Hall quickly rise to their feet and 20,000 hold their breath, ready to be awed by another thrilling cram.
Will T Will lead us to the Promised Land? Yet to be seen. But it’s his enthusiasm, his passion for the game, his unselfishness, and his versatility that has Terrence Williams creeping up the list of this “blogger’s” all-time favorite Cards. And I won't lose any sleep knowing that this is T Will's team.

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