Devin Williams Expanding Game, Welcoming Help as Sophomore at WV - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Devin Williams Expanding Game, Welcoming Help as Sophomore at WVU

Devin Williams looked like a completely different person when he stepped out onto the court for the start of the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro Am Summer League this week.

Gone were the prescription goggles that became part of his look throughout high school and as a freshman at West Virginia and the first question he faced in the post game interview session was where they had run off to.

“I don’t have contacts, I didn’t get LASIK [eye surgery], I’ve just been playing and they got beat up and broken a little bit, so I’m getting them fixed. But I’m going to still be the goggle man,” Williams said.

During an interview last season, Williams said without those goggles or his regular eyeglasses, he could hardly see who was asking him questions, so how did he fare playing without them Monday night?

Oh, you know, he just totaled a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

“I think I’m just playing by faith, to be honest,” Williams said with a smile. “I can’t see right now, but I’m just going to stay in the paint until I get my goggles.”

Not a bad performance for a man who can’t see.

Williams is getting set for what he hopes can be a more consistent sophomore campaign with the Mountaineers after he was asked to perform night in and night out during his first year in the Big 12.

Last year, he and the vast majority of WVU’s post presence were brand new to the team, learning the ropes as they went along. This year, those players return while head coach Bob Huggins welcomes two additions who are chomping at the bit to get out on the court.

Elijah Macon and Jonathan Holton have been waiting longer than they care to remember for their chance to make an impact for the Mountaineers and that opportunity is now just months away.

Macon (listed at 6-foot-9) is averaging 19 points per game so far in the summer league and Holton (6-foot-7) made his debut Wednesday night with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Adding size like theirs could spell major relief for Williams in his second season.

“Just playing Texas, for example, you guard one 7-footer and he subs out and here comes another 7-footer,” Williams recalled. “It’s going to be a relief for me having to guard those big guys. I can kind of take a breather, guard somebody else and know that Elijah or Jon can hold it down, too.”

Not only are the parts around him a year older, but Williams himself has experience from being thrown to the wolves as a freshman. WVU had no other real options, so he had to perform right out of the gate. The results weren’t always exactly what he envisioned for himself, averaging 8.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest, but with 31 starts under his belt, he feels better prepared for what he’ll face his next time out.

“Last year, I didn’t know what to expect, so every day stepping on the court, it was just going out there playing,” Williams said. “Now, I know what to expect, what every gym is going to be like, a lot of players are coming back in the conference so I know their tendencies. Just continue to work. I’ve got some experience under my belt, so it should be a better year.”

Williams finished his rookie year with eight double-doubles and he has clearly made it a focus of his to improve on that number going forward. His coaches are working with him to find different ways to find success, most notably putting the ball on the floor more than he did last season.

“To be honest, last year, I didn’t have to do anything like putting it on the floor or making that extra pass or anything like that,” Williams said. “I always had court vision and things like that, it’s never been a problem for me to pass the ball, it’s just we lost some key points of our team, so now I’m going to be able to show a little more of my skill set.”

Of course, what’s court vision without the ability to see? The goggles will help with that.  

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