Here we are. The second-to-last day of October means that we are inside two weeks from the UMass Minutemen tipping off the 2013-14 basketball season against Boston College at the Boston Garden. It also means that we have come to the last player in our 2013-14 Roster Preview series and we have saved the best for last.
Since Chaz Williams arrived on campus as a transfer from Hofstra, he has been a driving force for the Minutemen as they have climbed back up the NCAA Tournament Bubble Mountain and sit just on the edge of the summit. This is UMass' best shot at making the tournament since 1998 and if they are going to do that, Williams has to be better than he has ever been.
The question, however, is whether or not he can do it.
Chaz Williams, Guard
To put into perspective how good Chaz Williams has been the last two seasons, you must look at the last prolific point guard to suit up for the Minutemen: Chris Lowe. Lowe played for the Minutemen from 2005-09 and is the school's all-time leader in assists, breaking the previous record by 45 and is a member of the school's 1,000-point Club with 1,152.
As good as Lowe was -- and he was real good -- Williams is better.
In just two years with the Minutemen, Williams has amassed 1,137 points and 473 assists in over 35.1 minutes per game. In all likelihood, the 5-foot-9 guard from Brooklyn's Bishop Ford H.S. will pass Lowe's point total against BC and will get to work on the assist number as the season wears on. By year's end, Williams will have cemented himself as one of the program's top point guards despite playing just three years.
Williams became a national story this preseason when reports surfaced that he had turned down a pro contract in Europe to return to UMass and help the Minutemen make it back to the NCAA Tournament. Nobody would have blamed him -- with a child already under his care its hard to argue with trying to make the sound financial decision. Knowing that an NBA career is a long shot, however, Williams decided to stay, get his degree and give himself and his family the best chance at succeeding in life after basketball.
If I'm Derek Kellogg, that's who I want leading my team. UMass will go as far as Williams can carry them and by all indications, nothing is going to stop him.
2012-13 Stats: 15.5 points, 7.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 43.3 percent FG, 33.3 percent 3PT
More from Hustle Belt:
- Toledo Rockets Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Season Preview
- MAC Basketball Top 25 - #9, Will Felder, Miami (Ohio) Forward
- MAC Announces 2013-2014 Preseason Basketball Polls
- Charley Molnar Went For Two and UMass Football is Stuck on One Win
- MAC Basketball Top 25 - #10 Glenn Bryant, Eastern Michigan Forward