Freshman stretches defenses, perceptions
Who Terrance Williams’s favorite basketball player is lends a lot of insight into the player he wants to be.
Gonzaga’s 6-foot-7 freshman forward is still growing, which could mean he winds up being the height of a traditional center. He is already stretching defenses with his outside touch, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he modeled his game after shooting big men such as the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins, the Nets’ Brook Lopez or the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol.
But instead Williams says he studies tape of Duke freshman Jayson Tatum, a 6-foot-8 Swiss Army knife.
“I don’t think shooting the ball is enough, even at my size,” Williams said. “I want to handle the ball, I want to move the ball, I want to be a wing. I think Jayson Tatum’s game is really smooth, and I think my game is like that, too. And I think it can be no matter what size I am.”
The evolution of the big man is ongoing across all levels of basketball, and prospects who traditionally would have been considered forwards or centers because of their size are no longer caged inside the paint. Now that a majority of centers and power forwards can stretch the floor, players such as Tatum — tall wings who push the ball, shoot and guard up to five positions — are sprinkled across the sport.
That is how Williams sees himself, and he hopes to garner more recruiting attention by filling that mold for the No. 3 Eagles. He has no scholarship offers yet but has received interest from Virginia, Penn State, George Mason and Tulane.
“He’s not a traditional post player,” Gonzaga Coach Steve Turner said. “He’s going to be a kid that stretches out to the wing, and he has those skill sets already. So it’s a luxury being able to have a double-edged sword with a kid that is able to play inside but can also stretch people out with his shot.”