College Court Report Freshman of the Week: Eric Williams Jr., Duquesne Dukes

Freshman Eric Williams Jr. (above) and sophomore Mike Lewis II give the Duquesne one of the top young back courts in the Atlantic 10. (Source: Duquesne Athletics) (Header: The Post-Gazette)

CANMORE, Alta. — Based on how the 2017-18 season has started, the future looks bright for the Duquesne Dukes.

The Dukes have one of the top young duos in the Atlantic 10 Conference, in sophomore guard Mike Lewis II and freshman guard Eric Williams Jr. Both players rank one and two, respectively, in terms of scoring leaders for the Dukes through eight games, while Williams is the team’s leading rebounder.

This past week, Williams continued his strong play to open up his collegiate career with the Dukes. While Duquesne came into the week riding a three game losing streak, their fortunes quickly took a turn for the better.

When the week was all said and done, the Dukes had a three game winning streak, and the play of Williams was a big reason for their successful week.

The native of New Haven, MI came into the week with two double-double performances to his name. Over the last three games, he doubled his season total, posting another pair of double-doubles while helping the Dukes to three wins over the past seven days.

For his efforts this past week, a stretch of games that saw him average a double-double, Duquesne freshman Eric Williams Jr. has been named the College Court Report Freshman of the Week for December 4 – 10, 2017!

Across the three games for the Dukes this week, Williams averaged 19.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals per contest. Williams was also a combined 18-of-34 (52.9%) from the floor, and 11-of-17 (64.7%) from three point range.

For the season, Williams is second on the team in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per contest. He’s also the team’s top rebounder, averaging 10.6 rebounds per contest.

Up first this week, the Dukes played host to the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks on Monday. They were looking to end their three game slide, and did so in a big way. Behind a 24-point, 11-rebound performance from Williams, the Dukes rolled to the 86-61 win over the Hawks.

The 24 points set a new career high for Williams.

On Wednesday, Duquesne welcomed the Stetson Hatters to town. For the first time in three games, Williams shot below 50% from the field, but still posted his second straight double-double. Despite shooting 36.4% from the field, Williams recorded 11 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the Dukes’ 73-59 win over the Hatters.

Then, to close out the week, the Dukes took on their second team from the MEAC during the week, as they played host to the Delaware State Hornets. Williams found his groove once again on offense, recording 22 points to go along with nine rebounds and three steals, leading the Dukes to the 97-48 win over the Hornets.

Against Delaware State, Williams was 5-of-8 from three point range, with all of his field goal makes coming from beyond the arc on the night.

At 6’5”, Williams brings size to the back court rotation, and gives the Dukes a top tandem alongside Lewis on the back end. His size allows him to battle inside for rebounds against taller opponents, and it also gives him an advantage over smaller guards. He has the shooting ability to stretch the floor, while also possessing the ability to finish in the lane.

If the first eight games are any indication, the future is bright for Williams and the rest of the Dukes, and you may want to take note of Eric Williams Jr. before it’s too late.

For his efforts this past week, a stretch that saw the Dukes notch three straight victories, Duquesne guard Eric Williams Jr. has been named the College Court Report Freshman of the Week for December 4 – 10, 2017!

– T. Bennett

Previous Winners:

Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, 2017: Kobe Webster, Western Illinois Leathernecks

Nov. 20 – 26, 2017: Frederick Scott, Rider Broncs

Nov. 13 – 19, 2017: Dedric Boyd, Eastern Kentucky Colonels

Nov. 10 – 12, 2017: Justin Turner, Bowling Green Falcons

**College Court Report Freshman of the Week recipients are selected from teams in the following conferences:

America East, Atlantic Sun, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern, Southland, Summit League, SWAC, Sun Belt, West Coast, and WAC

Follow College Court Report (@CC_Report) and Tyler Bennett (@CCR_Bennett) on Twitter for updates throughout the 2017-18 college basketball season.