Letter to Gophers Forward Rodney Williams
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With the season about to get underway one player on the Gopher’s basketball team sticks out in my head and that’s you Rodney Williams. We’ve all seen you go from Robinsdale Cooper standout to Golden Gopher role player. The keyword is role. A kid with your God given ability should really be excelling at the collegiate level. A 6’7” long armed gifted leaper like yourself has to make a name for himself this year. As a junior you have no excuses. You’re an upper class men on a team that has 11 freshmen and sophomores. For this young 2011-12 Gopher team to be successful you need to be more then just a role player.
Everyone on Earth has seen some sort of YouTube video of you throwing down dunks (RodneyWilliamsHighlights). It’s time to take your game to the next level. There needs to be a go to move that you’re comfortable with during any situation. I’ve see nothing of the sort in your previous two years with the Gophers. With your ability to elevate, finding a fade-away in the lane or pull-up jumper on the perimeter would seem a logical attribute to go with your high-wire circus act. With Tubby Smith’s lack of strategy on offense you will need to do something other then catch alley-oops, run the wing on fast-breaks, or, my personal favorite put back dunks to score points. I realize Tubby wants a fast pace helter skelter type game but the Big Ten is a slow down half court league so often you guys find yourself in half court sets and no one to score the basketball. Trevor Mbakwe is a beast around the lane but he needs help. Your Help!! Your stats last year:
2010-11 6.8 ppg 21% 3pt 47% 2pt 3.5 rbs 1.9 ast .65 stl
*2011-12 12 ppg 33% 3pt 50% 2pt 6.5 rbs 2.5 ast 2 stl
* = Henny G-Legs must have stats from Rodney Williams this season
I don’t think that these stats are unattainable for you this season. With Hoffarbers graduation there will be a lot of shots opening up and I’m betting Tubby is looking for you, Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson to share them. I see you needing to get 12ppg and that’s a respectable average for the Big Ten. Let’s be realistic, your team will only score 55 ppg and you will have 22% of your teams efforts. That’s a nice chunk of the scoring and not out of your incredibly long reach. A 12% improvement from the 3pt line is quite a jump but I think you’ll get better looks this year with the excelling Mbakwe working the paint. Not much change to the 2pt percentage but your shots will increase and you need to be able to knock them down at least at a 50% clip. I added 3 rebounds to this years average to force you to be more active. 3.5 rebounds last year is a joke to me. You should get that many offensive rebounds in a game. The assists really don’t matter to me too much. If you’re playing 30 minutes a game there is no reason any basketball player can’t get 2.5 assists per game.The last stat, steals, really irks me. You couldn’t even get 1 steal a game last year averaging 25 minutes. To me that’s just being lazy. I see Tubby’s trap defenses and full court run and jump style presses and you can’t take those long arms and steal one a game. Rodney to me it’s just about you being more active. I’m pushing you to 2 a game this year. Get in a passing lane, take 2 dribbles, take off from the free throw line and get yourself on SportCenter.
Rodney this is your junior year and strides need to be taken for you to improve not only the Gopher’s chances at success but your own.