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Opinion: Career of Amir Williams is a mystery that will never be solved

Senior center Amir Williams (23) averages just 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographer

Senior center Amir Williams (23) averaged just 6.4 points in his final campaign at OSU.
Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographer

What comes to mind when I say the name Amir Williams?

For me, it’s one word: disappointment.

Not in the person, because the senior was always an entertaining interview and more often than not earned high praise from coach Thad Matta. But in the player.

A player who was rated higher than the likes of Ben McLemore and Trey Burke and was the fifth-rated center in the 2011 recruiting class averaged just 4.8 points per game in his career and became one of the most criticized players at Ohio State in any sport.

Whether it was a missed dunk, putting the ball on the floor despite being wide open under the basket, or celebrating a dunk when it doesn’t matter, the Michigan native will no longer put on the scarlet and gray, and that seems to make OSU fans happy.

The only other names that come to mind when it comes to pure fan disdain toward a player at OSU were quarterbacks for the football team: Steve Bellisari and Joe Bauserman.

While Bauserman did not come to Columbus as a highly touted recruit, both Bellisari — recruited by Notre Dame, Florida State and West Virginia — and Williams largely disappointed.

To Williams’ credit, he stayed out of trouble off the court to our knowledge, while Bellisari’s drinking escapade just hours before his senior day added embarrassment to his lack of production on the field.

For Williams, it will always be a case of what could have been, not only for him, but for the team as a whole.

The Buckeyes fell to the No. 2 seed Arizona Wildcats on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament, in large part because of a lack of rebounding. The Wildcats pulled down 17 more rebounds than the Buckeyes, and OSU’s leading rebounders pulled down just four boards each.

If OSU would have pulled the upset over Arizona, it would have played in-state rival Xavier and who knows what could have happened in that game.

The 6-foot-11 Williams pulled down four rebounds in 24 minutes of play against the Wildcats, while 6-foot-5 guard D’Angelo Russell managed seven.

Williams, who started 29 of OSU’s 35 games, did not pull down double-digit rebounds in a single game in his final campaign in Columbus.

His senior center counterpart, Trey McDonald, who stands three inches shorter and did not start a single game in his OSU career, tallied 14 rebounds in a single game against Sacred Heart on Nov. 23 in 21 minutes of play.

So why didn’t Williams pan out at OSU? We might never know.

The curious case of Benjamin Button has nothing on Williams, whose best season came in 2013-14 when he averaged a whopping 7.8 points per game.

It is hard to believe that 7.8 points per game was the ceiling for Williams in four years at OSU, but we will never know why that ended up being the high point of his career.

For OSU fans, there is hope, however, as the football team was able to replace its former fan least-favorites with Craig Krenzel and Braxton Miller, respectively .

So, to whomever replaces Williams, no pressure.


  1. Not only is this article unnecessary, but it is unnecessarily mean-spirited to someone who was a student and got in no trouble while representing team Buckeye.
    Your article represents you as a person, and that person is sadly lacking in discretion. I hope you learn from this journalistic misjudgment…

  2. If you did your homework you would see that Williams’ career mirrored exactly the concerns regarding him prior to coming to Ohio State. That is, the concern was that he seemed to lack passion and aggressiveness. Those concerns were there regarding him in high school.

    His supporters suggested that he was a late bloomer. However, he never did. But I saw no accounts suggesting that he was a developed prospect coming into Ohio State, and the concerns about his energy were prevalent. Sadly, those remained the issues upon his departure.

  3. I’m almost appalled after reading this, with both the lantern for publishing a blatant verbal attack on a fellow buckeye and with the author for finding it necessary to be so mean spirited towards another student. I implore you to ask yourself if someone were to write an article this rude and hurtful about you, would you be okay with it? I would think not.
    Whether or not you are satisfied with Amir’s performance is one thing but the manner in which you communicated it was so out of line. This article really speaks to your character and what sort of person you are.

  4. This was very mean and disgusting. Shame on you, James Grega Jr. for writing this article, and even more shame on The Lantern for allowing this to be published!

  5. Shame on The Lantern

    It says a lot about the quality of the writers for the Lantern, when quality, journalistic work is be replaced by verbal bashing just for website hits!

    Get some better people on your team, and you won’t have to resort to publishing such mean-spirited garbage.

  6. You know I’ll admit. I was disappointed Amir didn’t perform better but so what. He’s human. You on the other hand Mr grega. I’m even more disappointed in you and the lantern for letting such crap get published.

  7. The Truth Hurts Some Times

    I agree with the writer. He was a disappointment from a basketball production stand point. I believe the team would have been better off by playing another guard or forward and no center given the play by all of the centers this year and last year for that matter. Many teams don’t have a true center. Coach, let’s play the players want to play and earn playing time with their desire / energy /effort on the floor and not because they are the tallest players.

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