Syracuse Basketball: Benny Williams ‘going to shock the world,’ JB says

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

This past Saturday, Syracuse basketball freshman forward Benny Williams celebrated his birthday, and he got a nice gift from head coach Jim Boeheim, in my humble opinion.

The 6-foot-8 Williams, a Bowie, Md., native who came to the Hill last summer as a highly rated 2021 prospect out of the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., didn’t play much during his freshman season for the Orange, and that was a topic of much debate throughout the 2021-22 stanza among ‘Cuse fans.

As I’ve opined for a while now, I believe that Williams is poised to make a huge leap as a sophomore for the Orange in the 2022-23 term, similar to former ‘Cuse stars such as Dion Waiters and Michael Carter-Williams in the last decade or so.

Regarding Williams and what Syracuse basketball coaches are expecting of him in 2022-23, it appears that Boeheim shares my sentiments about this fine young man.

Syracuse basketball forward Benny Williams is going to shine, his head coach says.

On Saturday, when Williams had his birthday and the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation held its 2022 Basket Ball Gala at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y., Jim Boeheim had some interesting and encouraging things to say about Benny Williams.

"Check this out. “We’re very happy to have this young man back. He’s going to shock the world with what he can do. It’s his birthday today and I can tell you we’re so happy Benny Williams is coming back next year.”"

That’s a quote from Boeheim, according to a tweet from Tommy Sladek, the sports director at CNY Central.

Let that sink in for a second. The Syracuse basketball head coach, who wasn’t shy about saying Williams simply wasn’t ready to be a major contributor as a freshman, said Benny Williams is “going to shock the world with what he can do.”

Wow. In 2021-22, as I interacted with my fellow Orange fans on social media and chat rooms, without question, the most heated discussions centered on Williams’ playing time, or lack thereof.

A contingent of fans, seemingly not having any real evidence, would continually prognosticate throughout last season that Williams was 100 percent going to transfer. I found that ongoing pontificating annoying, and Williams himself had to come out and say he wasn’t transferring from the ‘Cuse on several occasions.

As I wrote in a column on Saturday, when I projected the team’s starting rotation for 2022-23, I believe that Williams will be one of the Orange’s two starting forwards when the upcoming campaign commences.

A stanza ago, he logged 10.8 minutes per encounter while averaging 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds a game, according to ESPN statistics.

His jump-shot, from my perspective, needs a bit more arc on it, as he connected on just 33.9 percent from the field, 61.9 percent from the free-throw line and 9.1 percent from 3-point land in 2021-22.

That being said, Williams did show his talent and potential in late February. When Syracuse basketball got crushed by top-10 Duke at home before a massive Carrier Dome crowd, Williams played 30 minutes, producing 14 points and six boards.

In that setback to the Blue Devils, he hit on 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe. Williams also displayed his terrific athleticism during a brilliant reverse layup that made it on the ESPN SportsCenter top-10 list.

This is solely my personal opinion, but I am confident that Benny Williams is going to crush things as a sophomore for the Orange. But take Jim Boeheim’s word for it, not mine.

dark. Next. Syracuse Basketball: Projected starting rotation for the 2022-23 season