The biggest question surrounding the Buckeyes basketball team this season will be how the team will replace Jared Sullinger’s historic production in the paint. Although Sullinger’s career was plagued by back problems, he will go down as one of the most dominant post players in Buckeye history. Sullinger’s departure to the NBA will hurt the Buckeyes on the scoring end but they will get better defensively in the paint with a true center and his name is Amir Williams.
Amir Williams, a 6-11 sophomore who is a former McDonald’s All- American will be counted on to hold down the paint defensively, rebound the basketball and work on his raw offensive game. In limited, yet important action last year, Williams showed he could be counted on defensively by altering and blocking shots down low. He played very well in the Elite Eight versus Syracuse when Sullinger went to the bench early with foul trouble. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla noted that Williams had a 14% block rate (14 blocks per every 100 shots when he was on the floor,) and Fraschilla even named him to his list of Eight Breakout Players of 2012-13 (ESPN Insider.) In the exhibition game against Walsh, Williams blocked 5 shots and made a huge impact defensively. Even though Thad Matta will miss Sullinger’s offensive production, he will welcome Williams defensive and height advantage down low. With Aaron Craft locking down defensively on the perimeter and Williams locking down the paint, expect this Buckeye team to look much better defensively this season. Maybe Amir Williams will give his teammate competition for B1G Defensive Player of the Year.
Trey McDonald, a 6-8, 240 lb sophomore will give depth to the front court and is built more like Jared Sullinger than Amir Williams. He only made 13 appearances last year, recorded 2 points and averaged 2.9 minutes per game, mostly in mop up duty. Not much has been said about him this off season, but McDonald could get his number called if Williams gets into early foul trouble. He will most likely be asked to do the same as Williams when he enters the game, which would be to play solid defense and rebound the basketball.