When backup center Colton Iverson decided to transfer from the program this offseason, we knew that junior wing Rodney Williams would be one of the main benefactors in the minutes left behind. When leading scorer and rebounding Trevor Mbakwe went down with a season-ending knee injury last week, it was make-or-break time for Williams. For the better part of two seasons, scouts waited for the ultra-athletic 6'7" to burst onto the scene, except it never happened. But in the three games without Mbakwe in the lineup, Williams has taken a much larger role. He has led the team in rebounding each of the three contests and finished as the second-leading scorer twice and tied a season-high 18 last game. Not to mention, Williams is contributing across the board, excelling as a defender totaling 10 blocks and 7 steals in this span.
If he can continue this rate or even keep up his improvement, Williams could stretch back into the first round, right where we had him at some point of the last two seasons. His production is up across the board and Minnesota continues to win without their All-Big Ten forward, thanks to Williams.
With Mbakwe in the lineup: 7 games, 7.7 points (53.8 percent from the field), 2.7 rebounds, 1 block, 1.6 steals per game
Without Mbakwe: 3 games, 14.7 points (79.2 percent from the field), 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.3 steals per game