Coming into a season with high expectations for Indiana basketball, perhaps no player (save for Thomas Bryant) is as important to the success of this year's Hoosiers as Troy Williams.
If Hoosier Hysteria is any indication, and it can be while taken with a grain of salt, Williams shot looks improved as he won the three-point shootout. Obviously shooting in practice or exhibition events is different than in-game, but the progress is there.
Williams' latest development furthers one of the more intriguing comparisons for the wingman, whose stats are nearly mirrored that of a former Indiana perimeter player.
Player A is Troy Williams and Player B is the mystery player with stats from both of their first two seasons at Indiana being shown:
That mystery player? Victor Oladipo. While a like-for-like comparison isn't always easiest, you get the idea of how similar the two are, especially in their first season. Both showed marked signs of improvement in year two, with Troy looking like a more efficient player nearly across the board, turnovers aside.
Naturally, stats don't tell the whole story for either player, but they do paint a quality picture. In Oladipo's third season, his jump statistically saw him average just 13.6 points with 2.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds, but anyone who watched him know his impact was far greater than that.
The comparison, however, lays the road for a potential growth pattern for Williams. Both Williams and Oladipo struggled with their jumpers upon joining the Hoosiers and both have made marked improvements in that jump shot. In Oladipo's senior season, his three-point percentage jumped to 44% on 68 attempts. Last season, Williams did shoot 46%, but on just 13 attempts.
Clearly, Williams outside game has improved over the off-season and while the percentage will likely go down from last year, the consistency will go up as well as attempts, which is a fair trade-off.
The two players have very similar career paths to date. Both came in relatively unheralded as recruits, both had tons of athleticism and noticeable potential, and both made relatively unexpected jumps in production in their sophomore seasons.
For Williams to continue the comparisons, he'll need to make another noticeable jump in his junior season, and not just statistically. Part of what made Oladipo so effective in his junior year is his leadership and play-making ability. Fans trusted Oladipo with the ball and wanted it in his hands.
Toward the end of last year, Williams showed glimpses of that play-making, but nothing close to the levels of Oladipo. If he can add that level to his game, he'll not only elevate his game but also elevate the Hoosiers' chances at a national title.