Expert has Benny Williams as break-out ACC player


This spring, Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim said some pretty encouraging things about rising-sophomore forward Benny Williams, who played sparingly as a freshman and served as the subject of much debate among Orange fans for his relatively small role in the 2021-22 campaign .

But Boeheim isn’t alone in his optimism for what he believes Williams can, and will, do for the ‘Cuse in the upcoming term. Noted national pundit Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports recently included the 6-foot-8 Williams in his off-season report on the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of the 2022-23 stanza.

For one, Rothstein projects that Williams will be a part of the Orange’s starting rotation when the 2022-23 season begins in a few months’ time. I agree with Rothstein’s assertion here.

Additionally, the CBS Sports writer has included Benny Williams among his 10 break-out players within the ACC prior to the 2022-23 campaign commencing. I could envision this transpiring for Williams as well.

Syracuse basketball forward Benny Williams is poised for good things as a sophomore.

Williams, a Bowie, Md., native, arrived on the Hill as a highly touted freshman who spent his senior season at the powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Nationally speaking in the 2021 recruiting cycle, all of the primary recruiting services rated Williams as four stars and in the top-50 overall. Rivals.com, for one, had him as five stars and in the top-25 across the country.

Expectations were lofty for Benny Williams before he even played in one game in an Orange uniform, and I would argue that the expectations directed his way by some ‘Cuse fans were understandable given his national rankings, but also unreasonable.

I say this, because the team’s depth chart at forward in the 2021-22 term included a senior in Cole Swider and a graduate student in Jimmy Boeheim.

Regardless of his 2021 ratings, to expect Williams to grab more minutes than Swider and Boeheim, to me, was unrealistic. Williams showed flashes of his supreme athleticism, talents and future promise throughout 2021-22, particularly when Syracuse basketball hosted top-10 Duke before a huge Dome crowd.

However, for the entirety of 2021-22, Williams averaged just 10.8 minutes per affair, and that really irritated a contingent of the Orange fan base.

An injury forced Williams to miss the last couple of contests in the 2021-22 season. He recently told college basketball insider Adam Zagoria that he is fully healthy.

Not too long ago, Williams was part of a group that went 3-0 for USA East Coast Basketball in an international tour of Spain. According to a report from Mike Waters of Syracuse.com, Williams tallied averages of 15 minutes, 6 points and 7 rebounds a game while in Spain.

Undeniably, Williams’ solid, efficient production with USA East Coast Basketball will provide a momentum boost as he eyes a stellar sophomore season.

Even though he didn’t play a ton as a freshman for the Orange, he does have a stanza under his belt within the ‘Cuse system. As Benny Williams said in part to Zagoria, “This year I’m definitely going to have to be more of a scorer and a leader with guys like Cole, Jimmy and Buddy (Boeheim) leaving.”

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