Welcome to A10 Talk’s Preseason Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2018-19 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article counting down our best 25 players for the coming season, as voted on by our staff of writers. Today, we feature #15 Eric Williams Jr. of Duquesne.
What He’s Done
Eric Williams Jr. has always been an underdog. At the start of his freshman season in high school, he stood only 5’7. He had zero division one offers, even though he was good enough to receive third team all-state in Michigan until he signed with Duquesne.
No one is doubting Williams Jr. this season after his phenomenal freshman campaign that landed him on the A-10 All-Rookie team. He averaged 33.7 minutes and 14.3 points per game, and was also a force on the glass, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game. His best game came against George Mason, where he scored 34 points on 9-15 shooting from deep, collected 11 rebounds, and led the Dukes to a double overtime win. After a 6-2 start to the conference season though, Duquesne’s momentum halted, and the team managed only one more win the rest of the season. Eric has shown that he can do a little bit of everything.
Along with his ability to crash the boards, he can dish
— A10 Talk Duquesne (@A10TalkDuquesne) February 4, 2018
He can shoot from deeeeeep
Eric Williams Jr.
THAT WAS DEEP pic.twitter.com/awxdwyJ8OH
— A10 Talk (@A10Talk) March 9, 2018
And he also has a flair for hitting ridiculous shots.
— Barstool Duquesne (@BarstoolDU) February 4, 2018
It’s fair to say he’s impressed thus far.
What He’ll Do
I expect Eric Williams Jr. to be a true leader along with Mike Lewis for a young and developing Duquesne team. For the first time in many years, Duquesne is on the cusp of relevancy again, and Eric Williams Jr. has played a large part in that. The Dukes have 12 new players (including freshman and transfers) as Keith Dambrot has completely turned over the roster. Although I expect Williams Jr. to improve, I do think it is possible he won’t have a significant uptick in stats as many sophomore stars in the A-10 do. If even a handful of the entering players contribute in the capacity that Dambrot expects, Williams Jr. will not have to force up as many shots this season. This would likely increase his pedestrian field goal percentage of 39.2%. I do expect him to average a double-double this season, as he would only need to average 1.2 more rebounds per game. If Duquesne exceeds expectations this season, Williams Jr. could be a sleeper pick for first team all-conference. On top of that, if Williams Jr. is the driving force behind leading the Dukes to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1977, he will become a Pittsburgh sports hero.
Previously: #16 Marcus Evans