There are plenty of questions swirling around Ann Arbor about the Michigan Wolverines’ basketball roster next season, as all five of the starters from the 2021-22 squad could be gone. The verdict is still out on Hunter Dickinson, Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan, but Eli Brooks and DeVante’ Jones have seen their last game in the maize and blue.
No matter how this roster is constructed, one of the biggest names to watch this offseason is Terrance Williams Jr. The soon-to-be junior has been a role player with the team over the past two seasons and has seen sporadic and wavering playing time coming off the bench.
T-Will brings quite a bit to the table. He showed vast improvement in his shot from deep this past season and is a solid defender who can guard pretty much anyone on the court. His teammate Dickinson told Maize n Brew in an interview earlier this season that Juwan Howard turned Williams to be more of a leader this year.
These qualities could provide massive value to a program that may go through a strange season in 2022-23. There is a chance the two most veteran players on this squad next year are Jace Howard and Williams; both who have never seen massive amounts of playing time.
This is likely why Howard turned to Williams to start thinking of himself as a leader, because he may have no one else to turn to in that role. That’s not to say Williams is not capable. Oftentimes, he would come into games and hit some big threes or make things difficult for opponents with his defense. Hustling to the ball and working hard in every aspect of his game on the court was apparent, which made him a difference-maker on the court.
Because of this solid play, he doubled his minutes off the bench this season and was a much more efficient player on the offensive end by scoring at a 45.5% clip and 38.5% from deep. His free throw percentage also rose to 78.8% from just 55% as a freshman. Overall, he saw improvement in just about every area of his game following his first full offseason.
When given the opportunity, Williams stood out. He had three games where he scored 15 points or more, and Michigan was 5-2 this year when he played more than 20 minutes in a game. In that frame, he averaged more than 10 points per game, with six of those seven games coming against opponents who made the NCAA Tournament.
With all the unknowns for next year, Williams feels like the one constant and reliable option Michigan will have. Is he going to be a superstar for this squad? Probably not. But he just may be the next veteran presence filling the role of a player like Eli Brooks.
Even if Diabate, Dickinson and Houstan all return, Michigan could always use a guy like Williams off the bench. He shared minutes with Brandon Johns Jr. in this role last season, but that won’t be the case moving forward as Johns could also move on from the program.
One of two situations could happen for Williams next winter — he will either be one of the veteran starters for Michigan or he will be the sixth man on a solid roster. Either way, T-Will is anticipated to play a major role with the program moving forward. The improvements he makes over the offseason could be the difference between this being a good or great team in 2022-23.