Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Previous Schools: Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (JUCO, 2 seasons), Kansas State, Coastal Carolina
Rudi Williams Player Preview
Rudi Williams comes into the program as a fifth-year senior with the monumental task of filling the shoes left vacated by Alex Barcello. Barcello started every game during Mark Pope’s first three seasons as BYU head coach, was the leading scorer the last two seasons, is one of the best three-point shooters in program history, and was the unquestioned leader the last two seasons on and off the court.
Rudi doesn’t have to match Barcello’s production, but if he can be somewhere in between Te’Jon Lucas and AB then BYU has enough pieces around Rudi for that to be good enough.
At Coastal Carolina last season, Rudi averaged 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 51% shooting from the floor and 45% from three. His 3-point shooting ranked 12th nationally and his effective field goal percentage was 115th nationally, both according to KenPom. Prior to Coastal Carolina, Williams played one season at Kansas State where he was a rotation player averaging 5 points in 18 minutes per game.
Defensively, Rudi provides a little more length and athleticism than BYU has had in the backcourt the past couple seasons. BYU will likely extend its halfcourt defense a bit more, and Rudi will shoulder a lot of that responsibility for disrupting the opposing offense’s flow. He led Coastal Carolina last season with 1.5 steals per game.
One question I have is how Rudi will handle being the lead guard. He shared the spotlight with a couple of Coastal guards last season, but will be the focal point this season for opposing guards. He struggled at times handling Big 12 competition at Kansas State, but found his stride last season in the Sun Belt. Rudi has 4 years of college experience under his belt and won’t face Big 12 caliber guards every night, so I think he is up to the challenge and can do really well in Mark Pope’s offense.
Season Expectations: Featured Player, Competing for All-WCC Honors
Rudi will be handed the keys to BYU’s offense. There may be some bumps to start the season, but Rudi is skilled enough and has enough offensive players around him to shoulder the load. Fousseyni Traore is one of the top big men out west and BYU added an influx of shooters this offseason, so Rudi doesn’t have to be BYU’s top scoring option for the team to be successful.
I expect him to be in the mix for All-WCC honors by season’s end. From everything I’ve seen of his film and speaking with people inside the program, Rudi is a step up from Te’Jon Lucas and can excel as BYU’s lead guard. He likely won’t give the same production as Alex Barcello, but if he can average somewhere in the neighborhood of 11-13 points, 40% from three, 4+ assists, and defend on the perimeter, then that should be good enough for BYU to be in the conversation for a NCAA Tournament bid.
You can watch highlights of Rudi below.