Freshman forward Devin Williams was a force in the paint during West Virginia’s 81-59 blowout win over TCU Saturday, registering a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
This was Williams’ first double-double since he grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 12 points against Oklahoma State Jan. 11.
“It feels good. I feel like I worked for it,” Williams said. “My mom always said, ‘What you put in is what you get out,’ and I’ve really just been trying to prepare (in) these last two or three games.”
In the 20 minutes Williams played Saturday, he was able to stay out of foul trouble, only committing two fouls. Williams said that was a key in allowing him to make such an impact in the post.
“I actually got to play a whole game without fouling out or being in foul trouble, so I think that played a part in it,” he said.
Saturday’s performance was one of several high notes of Williams’ freshman season. Although he lacks consistency at times, Williams said he is learning how to become a more effective post player.
“What I’ve learned this year is probably just to make your move as quick as you can, because everybody on the team is there to help each other,” Williams said.
“If I don’t make that move quick enough, I’m just letting the defense reset itself. I’m just trying to adapt and make quick moves and be efficient.”
With the depth issues West Virginia has faced because of injuries and illnesses this season, Williams has been placed into an important role early in his college career.
“It’s been difficult, especially the role I have been playing this year. We’re down to eight players now, and the role that I was already given was big, but now being down to seven or eight players … It’s really more demanding,” Williams said.
Although Williams said he struggled some along the way in his freshman season, his mother has been a source of reassurance and inspiration.
“I’ve been struggling and going up and down, but my mom just told me, ‘You’ve got to find yourself, and the only way you’re going to find yourself is to stay focused, stay prepared and stay in the gym,’” Williams said.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said Williams’ effort in the second half Saturday made a big impact on the game.
“The difference in our team is Devin Williams played in the second half. He came out and rebounded the ball and played like a man. He scored it close, and it makes all the difference in the world,” Huggins said.
With all of the preparation Williams put in this season, he said it felt rewarding to see his hard work pay off on the court Saturday and wants to keep this momentum going into the final two games of the regular season.
“It’s been a long time coming. I feel good, and I want to move forward and hopefully get (a double-double) in Oklahoma,” Williams said.