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.