Originally posted on BuckeyeBanter.com  |  Last updated 2/28/12

Freshman center Amir Williams, seen here attempting a free throw against Northwestern on Dec. 28, has played in 23 of Ohio State's 29 games so far this season. (Photo by Dan Harker/The-Ozone.net)

Over the summer, the rumor mill was swirling around about how exactly Ohio State head coach Thad Matta was going to use his personnel for the upcoming season and the different things he was experimenting with after the departures of three seniors – Dallas Lauderdale, David Lighty, and Jon Diebler – and how the four incoming freshman would mesh with the returning players.

One rumor over the summer was that Matta planned on playing both point guards, sophomore Aaron Craft and freshman Shannon Scott, at the same time. Well, that’s come to fruition in the last few weeks as Matta has been using both ball-handlers simultaneously.

The other, though, was to have Amir Williams play center (5) with Jared Sullinger playing at power forward (4), which is his natural position. This would clearly clear up some room for Sullinger to operate. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and it doesn’t appear that it will happen at this point.

Williams, who’s listed a 6-foot-11, 220-pounds, was a four-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com and the fourth-best center for the class of 2011 by ESPNU. He also had offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and Purdue before choosing Ohio State.

Since he’s long and lean, Williams reminds this writer of last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson. He’s quick and athletic who can run the floor and is a very good shot blocker.

As a senior at Detroit Country Day High School in Beverly Hills, Mich., Williams averaged 18.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game.

So far during his freshman campaign at Ohio State, Williams has played in 23 of the 29 games and averages 2.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game in 7.3 minutes of action.

Williams’ playing time is usually based on three things. Either the Buckeyes are winning big, Sullinger gets into early foul trouble or Sullinger is hurt. If those things do not happen, then he stays on the bench.

Williams scored a career-high six points against South Carolina when Sullinger left early with a foot injury. His career-high of seven rebounds came against Jackson State and his career-high four blocks was against Virginia Military, and both of those were blowout wins by the Buckeyes.

Playing Williams along side Sullinger in the post, Ohio State’s opposition would have a hard time matching up with the Buckeyes. Against Wisconsin, the Badgers went with 6-foot-10, 235-pound center Jared Berggren and 6-foot-6, 222-pound forward Mike Bruesewitz to double-team Sullinger.

But what if you had Williams in the lineup, too?

Well, you could flash Sullinger to the elbow. Once he receives the pass in the high post, he’d turn and face the basket. By this time, he would assess the defense and decide to either pull up and shoot, put the ball on the deck and drive to the basket and/or find Williams in the low post.

Bill Self, the head coach at Kansas, has been running the Hi-Low Motion Offense for years.

Here are a few examples (In these diagrams – 1=Craft, 2=Buford, 3=Thomas, 4=Williams, 5=Sullinger):

The thing is, Ohio State is not a very good shooting team from the perimeter as the Buckeyes are hitting just 33.3 percent from beyond the arc and no one is above 40 percent. Getting the ball inside is imperative. Now I’m not saying that Williams should play 40 minutes, but 20 should suffice. Going with a bigger line-up with Craft, William Buford, Deshaun Thomas, Sullinger and Williams does limit the amount of ball-handlers you have on the floor, which could also limit any fast-break opportunities.

But in the grind-it-out Big Ten, going big has its advantages.

Too bad we will never see it.

Here’s hoping that Williams doesn’t transfer out because of lack of playing time.

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