ACCBR’s Top Returning ACC Players: #23 Malik Williams

There is a distinct possibility that I am on an island here, but when it comes to Louisville’s deep front court and who I’d want on the floor, give me Malik Williams. The Louisville stretch five checks in at #23 on my list.

Williams was the #25 recruit in the 2017 class and has somehow become an afterthought with casual college basketball fans. He didn’t put up big numbers as a freshman, but big men, unless special, tend to take a bit longer to round into form than wings or point guards. In 2018-19, Malik put up 7.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in just 18.2 minutes played. There were some areas of regression that accompanied his increase in playing time, but that is typical.

Williams was the only power 6 player to average better than 7 points, 6 rebounds and a block per game while playing less than 20 minutes per game last season. The only other player in the country to achieve those marks was Cliff Thomas Jr. of High Point in the Big South conference. Last season, his per 40 minutes numbers were 16.8 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. While I certainly don’t expect Malik to play 40 minutes per game this year, if he were to play 26 mpg, he could be a 13 and 9 type player. Though, with Steven Enoch and Aidan Igiehon also vying for minutes at the five spot, Malik’s minutes may not increase that heavily.

How can you not love this kid’s game?

Williams is also a rare seven footer who defends the rim and is capable from beyond the arc. He was the only player in the league last season to make at least 25 triples while still collecting 40 blocks and 200 total rebounds. Though he only shot 32% from deep, it is enough that you need to pay attention to him when he floats to the outside.

While Louisville is loaded with talent at all positions this year, I believe that Williams will be part of their best five with Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton, Samuel Williamson, and Fresh Kimble. Even with Enoch and Igiehon, as the season progresses you will see Malik separate himself and be the primary option at the pivot.

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