Thursday, November 6, 2008

Freshman C.J. Williams shows poise

With perfect timing Thursday night, N.C. State freshman C.J. Williams sprinted through the lane while teammate Ben McCauley had the ball on the block.

McCauley, a senior center, always has been known for his passing. During a 94-65 win in N.C. State’s exhibition opener over Fort Valley State at Reynolds Coliseum, Williams demonstrated that he knows how to take advantage of McCauley’s best trait.

Williams got open for a feed from McCauley and made an easy layup for perhaps his most impressive play on a night when he started as a freshman.

“If you don’t have the ball in your hands, it doesn’t mean you can’t score,” Williams said. “Someone can make a pass, and you’re right there. Every time I pass the ball into the post, I try to cut. Maybe I’m open. And that also frees up Ben. If my man stays with me, there’s nobody on that side. It’s one-on-one for Ben. And I’ll take Ben one-on-one any day.”

Before the preseason started, N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe spoke glowingly of Williams’ ability to move without the ball and his knowledge of the game. Sometimes those phrases are coachspeak for a guy who’s not athletic enough to make an impact.

Early on, at least, that appears not to be the case with Williams. Though he wasn’t highly recruited out of Jack Britt High in Fayetteville, Lowe said Williams was well coached by Ike Walker.

Williams’ knowledge has landed him in the starting lineup at the shooting guard spot vacated when senior Courtney Fells moved to small forward. In the exhibition opener, Williams looked comfortable as he hit a couple short jumpers and finished with eight points, two assists and no turnovers.

“He’s just a solid basketball player,” Lowe said. “Doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’s very poised as a freshman. . . .He just knows how to play.”

A solid game against a Division II opponent doesn’t necessarily predict great things against ACC foes for a freshman. But if Williams keeps playing smart basketball, there’s probably a spot for him in the rotation on an N.C. State team that needs backcourt help. – Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Must you be so negatively critical? I was at the game and I will say that State, including CJ, played very well. Being a freshman, yes, that means that he may make some "rookie" mistakes. But he has the basketball IQ and poise to learn from those mistakes and work hard not to make the mistake again. EVERYONE makes mistakes, no matter what their classificaton and basketball experience may be. Playing against a D-2 school doesn't necessarily mean that he did well only bc it was a D-2 school. D-2 schools are mainly that bc they are SMALLER, not less-talented. Davidson proved that last year. No one expected them to do as well as they did. NC State is a good team, and they will definitely do alot better this year than last bc of several things: their newfound depth, their team cohesiveness and chemistry, and their talent. So please, stop trying to find the negative in someone or something that appears to be and is promising... bc on any given day, any team can step up their game and win.