How Will Ohio State Handle The Loss Of Kam Williams?

How Will Ohio State Handle The Loss Of Kam Williams?

Basketball

How Will Ohio State Handle The Loss Of Kam Williams?


Senior shooting guard Kam Williams is out indefinitely with the Buckeye basketball team because of a violation of team rules. What does it all mean?


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How Will Ohio State Deal With The Loss Of Kam Williams?

Just when the Buckeyes were running with this whole over-achieving thing in the Big Ten, an unexpected loss to Penn State occurred, and now, per a release from Ohio State, sharp-shooting guard Kam Williams has been suspended for a violation of team rules.

This is clearly not what a team with what appears to be great chemistry needs at a time when a push is being made for a potential Big Ten championship and seeding for the NCAA tournament. But what does it mean, and how will Chris Holtmann and company compensate for the loss of a key ingredient to the team’s success?

Ball Handlers Anyone?

Ohio State was already in the market for ball-handlers prior to Williams being relegated to the penalty box. With the trimming of the fat that happened last year, the team is without experienced guard play, and without a true point guard.

It’s one of the reasons Holtmann went to the Maize and Blue Star Destroyer to get senior Andrew Dakich to help out. That experiment has worked out well.

Still, there’s a void.

Williams may have shown more as a spot up and rhythm shooter, but he has worked on his handles with the basketball and could be counted on as another guy to dribble the ball in traffic.

We already saw smoldering smoke against the Illini pressure last game, and you can bet teams are taking note of it. The team settled down and was able to pull out the win, but a stretch of over 11 minutes of ineptitude on the offensive end for Illinois helped the cause.

The Buckeyes struggled getting the ball up the court, and staying composed and careful against a spunky Illinois squad. They had 15 turnovers, but more than anything had issues getting into offensive sets at times.

Look for future opponents to exploit man-to-man and zone pressures, knowing that there is one less guy with ball-handling ability on the outside.

Increased Bench Time

The loss of Williams also means that a fairly deep, but very, very inexperienced bench will be leaned on more heavily going forward. Who knows when, or if Williams will return, but in the meantime, the rotation had kind of been set to some extent.

That’ll change now and you can bet that guys like Andre Wesson, Musa Jallo, Micha Potter, and Kyle Young will get more minutes. Frankly, Ohio State will likely need to go bigger and play more with the stretch four type as opposed to guard play.

We definitely saw that against Illinois.

Outside Shooting

Williams tossed in a little over 8 points a game, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He often had a hot hand and could score in bunches. When he’s hitting, it adds another dimension against zones, and with positioning and spacing on the floor for spot up threes.

He was the biggest outside threat on the team and had to be accounted for. C.J. Jackson can hit from deep, as can Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop, but none to the extent of Williams when he’s going right.

Now the team might need to look inside a little more to Kaleb Wesson as opposed to planning as many set plays outside the arc. Three point shooting won’t be abandoned, but there’s now one less solid option available.

The Prognosis

Jan 7, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann talks to Ohio State Buckeyes forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) during the first half against the Michigan State Spartans at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Discard the thought that this season has already been miles and miles better than anyone could have thought. This is no longer a team looked at as playing above their pay-grade. This team is for real and has real aspirations.

That’s why the loss of a key member like Williams is a big deal. Whether he’s back or not, at least in the interim, this team will have to re-invent itself just a wee-bit while teams with the right personnel speed them up with aggressive defense and a more full-court game.

It’s what Illinois did, and it almost worked. Next up? Boiler up. Then beyond that is anyone’s guess. But if this team has shown us anything, it’s that its sixth man often comes off the bench as resiliency.

It’s time to call on that number again.

 

 

 

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