Position: Point Guard
Weight: 175 pounds
NBA Comparison: Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings
The Massachusetts Minutemen haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1998. At the heart of their attempted return to college basketball prominence is senior point guard Chaz Williams.
The 5’9″ playmaker holds many similarities to current Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Williams averaged 15.5 points, 7.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals per contest during the 2012-13 college basketball season. He’s made 105 3-point field goals over the past two years and early in 2013, he’s already turned heads by averaging 22.0 points and 6.0 assists against Boston College and LSU.
Not only is his size similar to Thomas, but so is his style of play.
Thomas is currently averaging 18.0 points and 4.5 assists in 27.5 minutes for the Kings—numbers that are on par with what he did after the 2013 All-Star break. He’s an athletic player who uses his tenacity on both ends to overcome his lack of ideal size at the point.
The advantage here is that Williams is a better defensive prospect and facilitator.
Williams is a ball hawk who can be caught watching plays transpire, but he’s made significant improvements in terms of the fundamentals. There’s still room for improvement, but the 22-year-old from Brooklyn has legitimate NBA potential.
If UMass continues its surprising start, he’ll begin to creep up draft boards.
Current Draft Stock: Undrafted
Chad Ford of ESPN Insider currently ranks Williams as the No. 24 point guard in the 2014 NBA draft. That’s an accurate depiction of the senior’s current draft stock entering what is set to be a stacked selection process.
Don’t expect it to stay that way for long.
Williams is one of the best playmakers in the country, using his defensive tenacity and offensive aggressiveness to create plays. His size is a concern and that will push him into the second round, but Williams will either be drafted late or become a Summer League star.
One way or another, he has a future at the next level.
Much like when Thomas attended the University of Washington, Williams will be able to win over scouts with a strong season and an impressive showing at the scouting combine. He needs an NCAA Tournament appearance to top if all off, but by season’s end, he should become a genuine college basketball star.
Keep an eye on Williams. He’s the real deal.