LSU’s 2018 class shot up to No. 3 in the country in the 247 Composite – No. 2 in 247’s rankings – with the addition of five-star Florida forward Emmitt Williams on Friday.
Here’s what Williams brings to the table.
Though he is just 6-foot-7 as a power forward, he makes up for a relative lack of height with a near 7-foot wingspan, not dissimilar to the measurements former Tiger shotblocker and current Miami Heat forward Jordan Mickey boasted out of high school.
He’s a killer on the glass, grabbing 11.2 rebounds per game and ranking second among all shoe league players (bested only to current Duke star Marvin Bagley in the EYBL) in offensive rebounding percentage (14.4%) and defensive rebounding percentage (25.6% – just behind Reid, who grabbed 25.9% on the Under Armour circuit).
In fact, LSU has, in Days, Reid, and Williams, three of the best eight defensive rebounders from the 17U shoe circuit last spring, and three of the six best who aren’t already in college (Bagley and Missouri’s Jontay Porter reclassified from 2018 to 2017).
Class of 2018 AAU 17U Defensive Rebounding Leaders
Stats courtesy Open Look Analytics
While he’s not exactly Mickey as a rim protector, he did rank third in EYBL in block percentage and blocked 1.6 shots per game. (Reid ranked second).
That said, he can still get a bucket, averaging more than 17 points per game on the circuit with efficient shooting at all three levels. His combo of rebounding and efficiency scoring is one-of-a-kind: he’s the only player on any shoe circuit last season with at least a 60% effective field goal percentage and with at least a 25% defensive rebounding percentage.
He doesn’t take a ton of 3s, but he makes them, knocking down 48 percent on 29 attempts last spring. His jumper is a work in progress, and he’s far from a pick and pop player like Duop Reath or Aaron Epps. He’s got a slow release, but if you don’t guard him, he can make them.
He’s dangerous enough from outside to face up and use ball fakes to set up drives to the rim. If he’s going down the paint, he’ll be tough to stop. He also has good footwork, able to jab either way and put the ball on the deck. He’s mostly right handed finishes and dunks, but there are skills there to build on.
He gets to the line a ton, fifth on the circuit and third in EYBL in free throw rate. He only made 63 percent of them, but making free throws is easier to learn than the ability to earn them.
He’s at his best, of course, around the rim. He knocked down 67 percent of his 2s last spring, second on the EBYL only to 7-foot-2 Bol Bol. In total, Williams ranked fourth among all shoe league players and second in the EYBL with a 66.0% effective field goal percentage. He just dunks everything, and if he doesn’t dunk it, he hangs well, absorbs contact, and has a nice way of finishing with an extended arm on his way down, a skill that thwarts the advantages of bigger defenders and allows him to score among the trees.
Most of his work is done quickly, rapid catch and shoots over his left shoulder, but he can use spins and ball fakes with his back to the basket, too.
“High Motor Beast”
What I like most about Williams is his demeanor. He’s straight up nasty, willing to go nose to nose with anyone. He’s ferocious on both ends of the floor. He wants to dunk everything on offense, block everything on defense, and grab every rebound.
He feasts on second-chance points and is a great complement to Reid, whose only knock by scouts has been a relative lack of motor. Williams more than offsets it. He isn’t just willing to do the dirty work. He thrives on it.
One person I talked to who’s scouted Williams as much as anyone in the country called him “a high motor beast.” He will be an enforcer from day one, a real tone-setter. LSU fans will love him for his grit and energy. He’ll bring the best out of Reid and can play alongside him or spell him, and he’ll be a prime target for Tremont Waters transition alley oops.
LSU’s front line for 2018-19 now features Reid, Days, Bigby-Williams, and Williams. As many as three of those four could play in big lineups – both Reid and Days can play the 3. The rebounding problems that plague the Tigers currently will soon be a distant memory.