An NBA scout is convinced Kenrich Williams can play in the NBA, and score in the NBA, but he’s not so sure if he can defend in the NBA.
That sort of scouting report fits a looooooooooot of aspiring NBAers.
The TCU guard/forward will play his final game at Schollmaier Arena on Tuesday against Kansas State, and Williams is his school’s best (only?) shot at making the NBA since Lee Nailon in 1999.
Of the many players brought to TCU by former head coach Trent Johnson, and coached over the last two years by Jamie Dixon, Williams is the most special, and unlikely.
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Williams spent his first year of college ball playing at New Mexico State Junior College. He missed all of the 2015-16 season after blowing out his knee; after learning of that ACL tear, Johnson visited Williams in the training room only to see his guy sitting on the table unable to stop crying.
More than two years later, Williams is the single most important player in TCU's basketball program's march to a March That Matters.
Williams is a big reason why TCU won the NIT title last season, and will qualify for its first NCAA Tournament since 1998.
Today, the highly scientific NBADraft.net projects Williams will be selected with the 37th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Nailon was the 43rd overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1999. He played six NBA seasons, and many more years overseas.
Other than Kurt Thomas, who was the 10th overall pick in the ’95 draft and played what felt like 45 NBA seasons, Nailon is the last TCU product to stick in the NBA.
The difference is both KT and Nailon were big, interior physical players who can bang and rebound. Williams is a 6-foot-7 guard who can shoot from the outside, and rebound like a power forward... in college.
He averages a team-leading 9.2 rebounds per game, which ranks 37th in the NCAA, and is second in the Big 12. Williams is a matchup migraine.
He shoots better than 41 percent from 3-point range, and routinely out-rebounds the biggest players in college. One is hard to defend, and doing both is nearly impossible.
Williams has a unique ability to find, and get the ball, even though he’s often far from the basket.
A smaller guard can’t match up with Williams for the rebound, and Williams out-works the bigger players to grab the ball.
Nonetheless, the NBA scout’s major concern is whether Williams has the foot speed and quickness on the perimeter.
“He can play; we all know he can play,” the scout told me. “He’s going to have to go to the right team.”
As a second round pick, Williams would not have a guaranteed contract; he won't be a priority. But he's going to get a shot.
The NBA is traditionally a slotted league, according to height. Williams is a guy who fits the small forward and two-guard spots.
He can score. He can rebound.
Can he defend in the NBA?
Either way, he figures to make pretty good money as a pro player, be it in NBA or overseas.
And his legacy at TCU is secured.