No. 8 Gonzaga sophomore Terrance Williams steals show in Hoophall win over Sacred Heart

Photo: Gregory J. Fisher, USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Gonzaga sophomore Terrance Williams steals show in Hoophall win over Sacred Heart

Hoophall Classic

No. 8 Gonzaga sophomore Terrance Williams steals show in Hoophall win over Sacred Heart

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Terrance Williams may be a sophomore, but he’s already taking the lead for No. 8 Gonzaga College High School at the Hoophall Classic high school showcase tournament.

MORE: Full coverage from Hoophall Classic

In an 86-51 dismantling of Connecticut’s Sacred Heart, the 2020 class forward showed off a comprehensive game as a stretch big that will help position him for a splash into his class rankings. Williams finished with 26 points in 27 minutes on 10-for-16 shooting (2-for-3 from deep) while grabbing 12 rebounds.

Williams, ranked 30th in his class in the country by 247Sports, served as a focal point in Gonzaga’s offense as a pick-and-pop force, operating from the elbow as a triple threat to shoot, penetrate or play-maker.

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“Coach [Stephen] Turner told me to get to the right a little bit, starting inside and then outside,” Williams said. “So that’s why I mostly did that to get to the basket, especially on the right.”

Williams happily fills a role as a big on a Gonzaga squad with few other options down low, but he sees his future as a wing who can use his power to impose his will on smaller defenders and skill to take advantage of bigger guys.

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“Long-term, definitely outside, but as of right now I’m doing what coach Turner says,” Williams said. “So if he puts me at the three, then he puts me at the three. If he puts me at the five, then he puts me at the five. When I’m in college, I think I’ll play at the three.”

Williams said he has a slew of offers, including Georgetown, North Carolina State, DePaul and George Mason. Williams has visited with Maryland, Villanova and NC State, while also receiving interest from Michigan State, Stanford and South Carolina.

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These schools see a player who is still growing into his game and can take off when he truly plays his position. He showed his capability as a finisher in transition, being able to finish through contact with a lefty hook at the rim on multiple occasions. Off of pick-and-pops, he could work out of the triple threat from the elbow, sending ccurate entry passes or stepping into pull-up jumpers.  

“That’s my sweet spot in the zone, really,” Williams told USA TODAY. “I love getting a high-push, a lot of midrange. One dribble to the layup. So as time gets me stronger, that’s a one-dribble finish through contact dunk as I get older and more strength.”

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He’s 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, but says he is projected to grow another inch, making him the ideal size for a three/four at the pro level. Williams has been getting in two-a-days during the offseason and 6 a.m. workouts during the season to improve his skills off the bounce from beyond the arc, with an eye toward being a versatile power wing when he is making an impression for NBA scouts in the near future.

“I worked on it during the season and a lot in the summer with coach and my personal trainer,” Williams said. “That’s a lot of what we are doing is working on dribbling and expanding my game.”

He sees a lot of his game in former Oregon star Dillon Brooks, now playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. But Williams looks up to Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum, a player he is trying to emulate with his creativity from the elbow.

“Coming up, I definitely see myself in him,” Williams told USA TODAY. “He’s 6’8” and I’m projected to be 6’8”. He does a lot of jabs, one-dribble combo moves. That’s what I’m trying to emulate my game in, to get to that next level like him.”

Williams led Gonzaga to a big road upset win over national powerhouse DeMatha just two days ago, scoring a game-high 22 points and icing the game with four straight free throws in crunch time. It’s becoming apparent with each of these performances that Williams is just scratching the surface of his potential in the NBA. 

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