University of Tennessee’s Williams Tabbed First-Team All-American
Tennessee’s Grant Williams received his first postseason accolade Monday, as he was named a 2018-19 first-team Sporting News All-American.
The junior forward is the first Vol since Chris Lofton in 2008 to be named a first-team All-American and just the second since Dale Ellis earned the honor in 1983. In total, Williams is the 16th Tennessee player to earn first-team recognition.
The reigning SEC Player of the Year finished the regular season as the top scorer in the SEC with 19.3 points per game. He has been one of the nation’s most versatile and reliable players this season, averaging 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game, while shooting 57 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free-throw line.
Along with scoring, Williams also ranked inside the league’s top 10 in field-goal percentage (2nd), free-throw percentage (3rd), rebounding (5th) and assist/turnover ratio (9th).
The Charlotte, N.C., native posted seven double-doubles this season and eclipsed the 20-point margin on 14 occasions, including his career-high 43-point effort at Vanderbilt (1/23). He led the Vols in scoring 15 times this season, 20 times in rebounding and 13 times in blocks.
Williams is one of the best players in the country at drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line. In fact, no junior in Division I has made (483) or attempted (635) more career free throws than him. This season, 33 percent (195 of 598) of his scoring has come at the charity stripe.
In Tennessee’s road game against the Commodores on Jan. 23, Williams was a perfect 23-of-23 from the free-throw line, which marked the most free throws made without a miss by any player in Division I in the last 60 years and was second all-time (24-of-24 by Oklahoma State’s Arlen Clark vs. Colorado, 3/7/1959). It also broke the Tennessee records for most free throws in a game and consecutive free throws in a single game, surpassing Bill Justus’ 22 total makes and 18 consecutive free throw makes vs. Ohio on March 17, 1969.
Williams has recently been tabbed a 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy Men’s Player of the Year semifinalist, a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award semifinalist, a Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year finalist and was selected for the Oscar Robertson Trophy Final Midseason Watch List and the Men’s National Ballot for the John R. Wooden Award.
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has now produced five different players who have earned first-team All-America honors, including Chris Mihm, T.J. Ford, Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin.