Prefer a more patient, deliberate approach? Last season the Golden Eagles were 239th in tempo, shared the Big East’s regular-season title with Louisville and Georgetown, and advanced to the Elite Eight, where they lost to then-conference rival Syracuse.
Translation: Ken Pomeroy’s advanced statistics indicate that Williams is willing and able to change, sometimes radically, based on his roster.
Virginia Tech is “getting a terrific coach, terrific guy,” said Paul Brazeau, the ACC’s senior associate commissioner for basketball. “He’ll certainly bring excitement to the team. He’s a tireless worker, and his team will be extremely well-prepared. He gets after it on the recruiting trail, too.”
A former head coach at Hartford and assistant to Gary Williams at Boston College and Ohio State, Brazeau knows Buzz Williams and new Hokies athletic director Whit Babcock well. Before joining the ACC this month, Brazeau held a similar position with the old Big East, where Buzz Williams coached and Babcock was the athletic director at Cincinnati.
Brazeau said evaluating Williams by Pomeroy’s stats is fitting.
“He’s very much into analytics and numbers,” Brazeau said. “He’s a believer in them. But he doesn’t just read the game. He has a great feel for the game as well, and there’s a difference.”
As varied a pace as Williams’ squads – six at Marquette and one at New Orleans – have played, some constants emerge from the numbers.
* None of his teams has ever relied on 3-point shooting, and each of the last four ranked 257th or lower in percentage of overall shots attempted from beyond the arc. Translation: His teams have mid-range and low-post games and don't hoist threes on a whim.
* His multiple defenses -- man-to-man and zone – largely have been effective. Marquette was ninth nationally in defensive efficiency two seasons ago, and all of his teams in Milwaukee ranked among the top 75.
* Four times during his tenure Marquette was top 25 in offensive efficiency.
Some other nuggets about Williams:
* His Marquette staff included one of my favorite characters, former UNC Wilmington, Richmond and DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright, a quirky, streetwise intellectual from Chicago who worked as an assistant under Bob Staak and Dave Odom at Wake Forest. Wainwright was Marquette’s director of basketball operations, and I don’t know whether he’ll accompany Williams to Blacksburg.
* Williams already is familiar with Hampton Roads. Center Davante Gardner, a senior at Marquette this season, hails from Suffolk’s King’s Fork High. Jamal Ferguson from Norfolk’s Maury High was a reserve forward last season as a freshman but transferred after one year.
“He already has ties to the area,” said Boo Williams, the 757’s youth basketball leader. “He’s going to know the right people.”
Here’s how Williams’ teams have ranked nationally in four key Pomeroy stats: tempo, offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency and 3-point frequency. The last six seasons were at Marquette, the other at New Orleans.
YEAR PACE OE DE 3%
2014 161 86 74 319
2013 239 25 46 304
2012 16 52 9 257
2011 129 21 66 314
2010 304 22 59 103
2009 85 12 60 125
2008 206 98 333 233
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