UCSB's Alan Williams: From 6th Man to Star

See that big guy blocking the ball. You will be hearing a lot more about UCSB's Alan Williams this coming season.

We have some unfinished business to attend to, looking back at the freshman from last season that finished outside of the Top 100, and how Drew Cannon rated them based on their first season.

We have already taken a look at the players within the top 100, and how they excelled on the defensive side of the ball. But it was those other guys -- kind of like diamonds in the rough -- that intrigued us more, if only because a lot of mid-major names were on the second list.

That got called to light today, as Ken Pomeroy looked at the three guys who played limited minutes this past season, and seem primed to break out ($).

Appearing from the mid-major ranks: Alan Williams from UCSB.

Now Williams stuck out to us because we ran the HOOPWAR score for him because Orlando Johnson was a top 100 NBA Draft candidate. And we have planned to continue looking at the freshman that appeared on Cannon's list, if only because in some cases, the value of their performances were better than a lot of top 100 guys.

Williams has been getting a lot of publicity lately, not just from Pomeroy, but also appearing on John Gasaway's list of underrated players ($):

"In theory, the 6-foot-7 Williams is the best offensive rebounder in the country, having hauled in 23 percent of UCSB's misses during his (scarce) minutes. He's also decent on the defensive glass, and he carried a non-token load in the offense when he was on the floor. "

Pomeroy agrees, and goes further:

"He blocked shots, was an outstanding rebounder and didn't commit turnovers despite being actively involved in the offense. He gets to the free throw line an impressive amount, as well. By virtue of playing at UC Santa Barbara, Williams is likely to fly under the radar, but even if his rate stats slip a bit as his minutes increase, he'll be in the running for Big West player of the year. "

HOOPWAR agrees that Williams is a stud, and probably should have made some All-Big West team last year. In just 17.1 minutes per game last season, he still contributed a value of 4.8 wins, the second best score on his team behind Johnson.

And on the defensive end, he saved 17.25 points for every 100 minutes he was on the floor. Not shabby at all.

It is going to be hard to find too many players in the Big West that had that kind of overall value and return this season. Plus Williams will be the best player returning on his team. He can only get better (and the jump between freshman and sophomore years is huge).

We will eventually get to the Big West top 10 players for the coming season, but mark Williams down to make an appearance again on that list, possibly right at the top.

Note: SBNation College basketball editor Mike Rutherford has his own list of breakout players, featuring Gonzaga's Sam Dower (8.0 DEF100, 0.98 HOOPWAR/30 in 2011-12), and Memphis' Adonis Thomas (9.5 DEF100, -0.22 HOOPWAR/30).

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