Williams posted averages of 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game as a junior, shooting 48.8% from the field, 25.0% from three and 72.7% from the foul line. However he played more than 20 minutes in just two of Oklahoma State’s final eight games, including a 13-minute outing in their season-ending loss to Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament.
But his arrival at Louisiana helps from a depth standpoint, with the Ragin’ Cajuns having lost its three leaders, including junior guard Elfrid Payton.
“We’re excited to have Brian enrolled in school and become a member of the Ragin’ Cajuns,” Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said in the release. “He gives us an athletic wing player with size and has played at a high level for the past three years.
“With the loss of our team captains from last year, Brian will have the chance to step in right away and be a leader of this team.”
In addition to Payton, Louisiana lost seniors Bryant Mbamalu and Eldridge Moore. The leading returnees in 2014-15 will be forward Shawn Long (18.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and guard Xavian Rimmer (8.8, 2.3).
Williams averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 boards for the Cowboys this past season, but left the program at the same time as Marcus Smart and Markel Brown after seeing his playing tie cut down the stretch of the season.
Williams is a redshirt junior and graduated this semester, meaning that he will be able to play immediately for the Ragin’ Cajuns. That’s big news for head coach Bob Marlin. UL is coming off of a trip to the NCAA tournament, and while they return center Shawn Long, who averaged a double-double his first two seasons, they lose Elfrid Payton, who declared for the NBA Draft and could end up being taken in the first round.
Williams isn’t going to be replacing Payton’s production offensively, but he’s a next-level athlete on the wing that will really help on the defensive end of the floor.
With Marcus Smart declaring for the NBA draft and Markel Brown exhausting his eligibility, reserve guard Brian Williams was expected to have a bigger role next season for Oklahoma State.
However, like Smart and Brown, Williams will depart from the program, according to a report from Kelly Hines of the Tulsa World on Thursday night. Williams, a redshirt junior, will graduate at the end of the semester and will have immediate eligibility at whatever school he transfers to.
Williams, who missed part of the 2012-2013 season with a wrist injury, saw a decrease in play time in mid-February. In the last eight games of the season, the 6-foot-5 guard, who averaged 23.3 minutes per game this season, played 20 or more minutes only twice.
He averaged 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Cowboys.
All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. The rest of our Top 25 Countdown can be found here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.
Last Season: 24-9, 13-5 Big 12 (3rd); Lost to Oregon in the Round of 64
Head Coach: Travis Ford (6th season at Oklahoma State: 104-63 overall, 44-40 Big 12)
Key Losses: J.P. Olukemi, Philip Jurick
Newcomers: Stevie Clark, Jeff Carroll, Leyton Hammonds, Gary Gaskin
– G: Marcus Smart, So.
– G: Markel Brown, Sr.
– F: Brian Williams, Jr.
– F: Le’Bryan Nash, Jr.
– F: Michael Cobbins, Jr.
– Bench: Gary Gaskins, Jr.; Kamari Murphy, So.; Phil Forte, So.; Stevie Clark, Fr.
They’ll be good because …: Travis Ford has managed to amass as much perimeter talent as any team in the country. Let’s start with the obvious: Marcus Smart. After an all-american freshman season that had him projected as a top five pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Smart made the decision to return to school for his sophomore season, giving the Pokes arguably the best player in the country. He’s a point guard in a shooting guard’s body whose biggest contributions have much more to do with the intangibles and things that don’t show up in the box score than the 15.4 points, 5.8 boards and 4.2 assists he averaged last year.
Smart’s not alone, either. Markel Brown may be the most underrated guard in the country, proving last season that he is more than just a dunker. Brian Williams is finally healthy and should be a lock down defender on the wing, while Le’Bryan Nash is an immensely talented combo-forward that has yet to reach his potential. Throw in high-scoring little guards Phil Forte and Stevie Clark, and Oklahoma State is going to be able to give opponents multiple different looks.
But they might disappoint because …: Michael Cobbins was productive as a sophomore, averaging 6.9 points, 6.1 boards and 1.5 blocks last year, and should be in line to see a jump in those numbers. The same can be said for sophomore Kamari Murphy. Both are athletic 6-foot-8 forwards with long arms that can make some plays on the glass and on the defensive end of the floor. Gary Gaskins is a 6-foot-10 pogo stick, but he weighs all of about 20 pounds.
The problem, however, is that neither of those guys are what you would consider a bruiser inside. That role was played by Philip Jurick last season, and he graduated. Can the Pokes survive without that big body in the lane?
Outlook: Travis Ford probably hates Andrew Wiggins. If Kansas hadn’t landed the No. 1 recruit in the country, Oklahoma State would be heading into this season as the favorite to win the Big 12. The Jayhawks have had an unprecedented run of success, dominating the league over the last nine years; the last time that Kansas didn’t win at least a share of the league title was back in 2004.
Oklahoma State has a real chance to bring that streak to an end this season. This is the best team that Ford has ever coached, and it may be the best team that he ever will coach. Smart is an all-american and arguably the most valuable player in the country, and his supporting cast will be better than it was a year ago. It’s a stretch to say that Oklahoma State should win the conference, but given how weak the rest of league is outside of Kansas, anything less than a second place finish in the Big 12 would be a disappointment. There’s enough talent on this roster to make a run at the Final Four come March.
Report: Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams out for season
“is pretty seriously hurt right now. [He] will be out for a while, and that does not help our basketball team as far as rebounding. Brian Williams was one of the more athletic players in our league – 6-5, he was playing the three-four for us. He’s out for a while. We’re not sure how long yet.”
Oklahoma State will use a medical redshirt for Williams.
This is tough news for the Cowboys, as Williams was expected to play a big role for OK State. With his size and versatility, he was going to switch between positions and be asked to help crash the boards. As a redshirt freshman last season, Williams averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
The loss of Williams effects Oklahoma State even more because senior forward Jean-Paul Olukemi is dealing with an eligibility issue that could end his playing career after the fall semester.