He wanted to go between the legs.
That is what Texas A&M forward Robert Williams said about his dunk in the Aggies’ first-round NCAA Tournament victory against Providence. Unfortunately for college basketball fans everywhere, his coach told him that would be a no-no.
Come on, Billy Kennedy. You’re killing us!
Even without the acrobatic slam, William has become a non-stop highlight reel and is by far the most exciting player in this NCAA Tournament. For the record, he would only do a windmill that saw his eyes looking above the rim in a dunk that most would need a large trampoline to execute.
“Nobody jumps any higher and blocks more shots,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said after seeing Williams use a Flubber-like performance against the Tar Heels in a West Region second-round upset Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.
All the focus before the tournament fell on Oklahoma’s Trae Young and Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, who were supposed to electrify arenas and sports bars alike. Instead, they were gone in Round 1. So please forgive people if they have already forgotten those two names after seeing Robert Williams rise above opponents and make a joke of other supposed “vertical jumps.”
This didn’t come out of the nowhere, of course. On a team that didn’t live up to expectations during the regular season but has seemingly hit its stride now that the big lights of March Madness are on, Williams has been a consistent force for Kennedy and the Aggies (22-12). The sophomore is averaging 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
There also are the 75 blocks he has recorded this season, a low number considering what a dominant force he is and definitely not counting all of the other shots he has redirected simply with his presence. Opponents must be aware of where he is at all times in the paint, or else the ball is going to end up in the 15th row.
He seems to raise his game when the Aggies need it the most. In an 81-80 victory against then-No. 8 Auburn in February, Williams was everywhere, pouring in 16 points and grabbing 7 rebounds while throwing down dunks that possibly shook the ground throughout campus.
Not to be outdone, he was just as good in the next game against Kentucky, having an all-around outing in the 85-74 win (12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks).
Williams will need to raise his game even more on Thursday (7:37 p.m., TBS) as the No. 7-seeded Aggies take on third-seeded Michigan, a team that has rolled off 11 straight wins. If Texas A&M is to move on, Williams will be a key part of the victory. And his coach might let his guard down just for a little bit.
“I want him to have fun, and sometimes we worry about him having too much fun,” Kennedy said following the win against North Carolina.
Watching Williams play, we are the ones having too much fun.