When Mark Adams was elevated to the position of head coach of the Texas Tech basketball program, the first question that many asked was whether or not he would be able to recruit at an elite level. If his first two months on the job are an accurate barometer, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. At least when it comes to the transfer portal.
On Sunday, Adams reeled in what may have been his biggest fish yet in Bryson Williams, formerly of UTEP. Now, the roster that Adams has assembled looks like a potential Big 12 contender.
Needing to add some size and productivity in the post, the Red Raiders could not have asked for a better player to plug into the lineup than Williams who averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
A native of Fresno, California who began his career at Fresno State, Williams is a do-it-all forward. At 6-foot-8, he is relentless in the post and is more than comfortable mixing it up on the blocks. In fact, he’s averaged 3.1 free-throw attempts per game in his career. To put that in perspective, that would have been fourth-most on the 2020-21 Red Raider team which is impressive given that power forwards don’t always have the ball in their hands like guards do, especially at the end of close games.
Even better news is that Williams has become an excellent shooter at the line. After beginning his career shooting below 70% his first two seasons, he hit at an 82% rate this past season.
But he’s not just a strong shooter at the free-throw line. For his career, he’s shot over 50% from the floor. That’s indicative of a solid mid-range game given that he’s averaged just over one 3-point attempt per game as a collegiate.
A 2020 first-team All-Conference USA selection and a 2021 third-team selections, Williams was one of the best transfers available in this year’s portal. He reportedly picked Tech over the likes of Texas (where his former head coach at UTEP, Rodney Terry, is now an assistant coach), Arkansas, and Washington. And when you look at what he’s done against top-flight competition, it isn’t hard to understand why.
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For instance, in a game this past season at Kansas, he scored 23 points and pulled down 13 boards. Meanwhile, in 2017, he had 22 points and 9 boards at Arkansas. What’s more, he had a 22-point, 10-rebound game against Arizona State in 2020.
It will be interesting to see how Adams utilizes Williams and returning senior Marcus Santos-Silva and whether or not they spend much time on the court together. Neither is what would be considered a classic stretch-forward who is going to draw defenders far away from the goal being as the 3-pointer isn’t a huge component of either player’s arsenal.
But Williams is more comfortable handling the ball and creating his own offense than is Santos-Silva who gets almost all of his offense playing with his back to the basket meaning that he could play alongside Santos-Silva as he isn’t going to cause the offense to slow to a crawl (Tech is expected to play at a much faster pace on that end of the court this season).
Additionally, both are hard-nosed and willing defenders who will give the Red Raiders some muscle in the low blocks. In other words, Tech could guarantee itself to have a formidable post presence on the court at almost all times by splitting up these two power forwards. Either way, Adams will have options.
Tech still has at least two more open scholarships to fill meaning that Adam’s recruiting efforts are not over as far as the 2021-22 roster is concerned. And based on what the new head coach has proven capable of doing on the recruiting trail thus far, that thought should excite Texas Tech basketball fans immensely.