Keith Williams Scouting Report

I. Offense


  • Strong shot mechanics overall with an authentic jumpshot. Loading time is on the shorter side. Gets high elevation, with a release point four to five inches above the center of the head. Zero involvement of stabilizing left hand. Shows proper footwork leading up to the catch-and-shoot (C&S)
  • Williams shows some positive signs with passing–generous with the ball, especially before the dribble-drive has begun.  Has an effective wraparound pass after getting rim protectors in the air, which builds from his vertical explosiveness. Unafraid to throw a lefty live-dribble pass in low-stress situations on the perimeter. Has demonstrated good synergy with his team’s center: entry passes, give-and-go’s, interior passes while backing down
  • Has distinct comfort operating outside-in with his back to the basket, sometimes partaking in a full-fledged low block post-up. Can occupy either side of the block to throw up the occasional jump-hook and runner. Will aptly use shoulder/rear to gain separation, throws in drop steps, and a turn-around jumper is in his repertoire
  • Off-ball play is not without imperfections, but Williams has a shown strong sense of timing, and desirable explosiveness. Utilizes “sneak” maneuver to quietly slide into backslide spot for a pass
  • Dribble-drive flashes portend for a medium-high ceiling, in large part due to acceleration, vertical leap, and strength factors. Uses a lefty inside-out dribble and Euro Step to effect. Has the ability to sky and contort, and demonstrates ambidextrous jumping ability
  • Potent transition threat, particularly off-ball with early shotclock leak-outs. Gets to the rim effectively in these situations
  • Established three-level scoring capability. From the outside, has a menacing jab step in triple threat position; one dribble pull-up from three is in his arsenal. First step speed is formidable when initial positioning is not compromised (see: below). C&S game comes to him more easily than the percentages would indicate. Stepback flashes are present. Floater and post-up flashes can help diversify his arsenal (often does a spin-move leading into these situations). Gets to rim with high frequency, and can use his left to score


  • Some variance in width of base during jumpshot, and right foot can turn in sharply. Occasionally his release point drifts towards his left, which tends to also include a minor forward swing of right leg. Prone to short-arming his jumpshots when the defense sits close, affecting accuracy
  • Shot selection: too often hoisting from compromised positions and failing to proactively protect the ball and/or gain separation. Is not properly loading and ascending on a large chunk of his runners, floaters, pull-ups; could benefit by throwing in deceleration, or stopping on a dime to shed the defender(s). Will sometimes drive right into stationary targets instead of opting for a wide open shot from 5-7 feet, habitually takes 1-3 “extra” dribbles
  • Is not a particularly dynamic passer. Occasionally flustered by aggressive defenders that have height on him. Not doing enough drive-and-kicks given his slashing ability. Misfires in terms of velocity/accuracy on occasion, overall touch appears average/slightly below average for size. Reads in the pick-and-roll thus far have been relatively basic. Tendency to momentarily hold the ball before taking any action limits possibilities
  • Must be much better with ball misdirection and security while finishing at the rim. Williams has the explosiveness and strength, but the application is lacking–Williams’ intent is too easily telegraphed by the defense. Would like to see much more double-clutching, manipulation, and most notably, left hand utility. Drive-and-kick game is also virtually nonexistent in these situations. Scoop shot incorporation would presumably help efficiency
  • Ball-handling is a non-plus, and shake is inherently limited by propensity to widen base while enacting moves (cross-over, inside-out dribble, hang dribble); can appear a bit stiff
  • Positioning on offensive glass is often an afterthought. Williams has netted a high number of offensive rebounds, but these are often coming from his own misses and not through consistent effort and execution
  • Struggles to demonstrate conceptual understanding of proper offensive spacing and space utility. Too often edges on his teammates driving/spacing lanes, and misses own opportunities to capitalize. Williams has been bothered by charge-drawers and bigs with hands up outside of restricted area–tries to meander through small and crowded gaps which can often turn out poorly

Questions to Consider

  • How likely is it that Williams can polish his driving tendencies and maximize his athletic gifts?
  • How would Williams fare in a setting where he is a primary initiator? Can he produce in a P&R-heavy system?
  • Can he continue to involve the left hand as he starts to throw in more advanced live-dribble passes?
  • Can he start incorporating shot-fakes to be telegraphed less easily/increase scoring efficiency?
  • Williams has has netted a large chunk of his offensive rebounds from his own misses–what is his real ceiling here, especially if consistently focused on tracking the ball early?

II. Defense


  • Balance and mobility are absolute top of the line for a prospect of his archetype. Strides cover substantial ground. Combined with strong reflexes, quick hands, and a good feel for the ball-handler’s intended path, Williams has potential to be a game-changer here
  • Produces a high number of loose balls by digging on off-ball threats, pressing full-court, and by hounding players who’ve lost their dribble
  • Gifted shotblocker for his size–high activity levels both on- and off-ball (note: readily using left hand to contest would add even more here). Grants legitimate rim protection at the collegiate level
  • As he closes in on a to-be ball-handler, hops into a stance while actively probing: Williams shows a particular lightness on his feet while looking to disrupt the offensive player. In a similar vein, is able to swap his feet seamlessly in a NW-NE positional shift
  • Impressive ground (and airspace) coverage when keyed in on a closeout
  • Is adept at rounding corners and smoothly navigating screens: balance, agility, burst working in tandem
  • Has the strength to push through and limit access versus a variety of player types


  • Does an excellent job of keeping in front of ball-handlers and denying middle, but once momentum is gained, Williams is prone to freely granting driving lanes. Does not use his body to cut off angles; periodically fails to apply consistent pressure throughout a defensive sequence (note: Cincinatti’s Ice/Blue scheme may be playing a part in his funneling strategies). Whether it’s a close-out, a post-up, or while he’s trailing, Keith too frequently offers too much space if not actively probing
  • Foul rate is high, and a decent percentage of these are avoidable reach-ins or done out of frustration. Also shows a habit of lunging for the ball before getting his feet set, which puts him off balance and oftentimes out of the play. Is not good about sustaining effort and recovering in a timely fashion
  • As a weakside defender, is a habitual ball-watcher: loses track of man, and does not promptly body up to box out
  • Spatial awareness may be lacking. Has been seeing running into own team’s big while contesting
  • Could stay down versus a higher percentage of pump-fakes

Questions to Consider

  • How easily can effort level-related issues be addressed? Are the mental lapses deep-seeded, or can he demonstrate in workouts that he’s already made improvements in that regard?
  • Does he have the length to switch over to the three on defense at the pro level?

III. Statistical Profile

Courtesy of Basketball-Reference and Synergy Sports Technology:

Key notes from ’19-20:

  • The vast majority of Williams’ shots attempts appear in the deep key, where he is only shooting 50.8% (53.3% from 0-3 feet, not pictured)
  • Excellent STOCK production rate of 3.0 per 40 minutes
  • Annual upticks in FT% and 3P%, with current marks projecting fairly well for shooting efficiency
  • Fouling at a relatively high rate
  • Unspectacular assist to turnover ratio of 0.92/1.00
  • Isolation efficiency notably high
  • High activity and production levels in transition
  • Spot-up PPP lower than would hope for (note: data does contain some drives/pull-ups)
  • Rebounding well for size at 6.4 per 40, with roughly a third coming from the offensive glass

IV. Physical Profile & Miscellaneous

  • June 25, 1998 DOB (21.86 years)
  • B+ athlete for archetype
  • Estimated 6’4.0″ – 6’4.25″; 6’5.5″ wingspan
  • Estimated 37″ vertical leap
  • Consistently quick release, averaging ~0.65-0.90 seconds in a C&S
  • Above average reaction speed, particularly quick hands
  • Exceptional defensive mobility feat. long and powerful slides, shows a high overall ceiling
  • Intangibles in question. Screen-sets could use more juice/intent. Effort and attentiveness wane, particularly on the glass and defensive end. Openly objects with some consistency: whether he is not given the ball from a teammate, is called for the foul, or is not awarded the foul while slashing, Williams is a bit prone to showing frustration. Can be seen ignoring teammates’ pick-me-ups
  • Full-fledged sprint does not generate the amount of speed you’d hope for–product of flat-footed running gait?
  • May have stiffness in the back to some degree, visible during initiation of drive and initial sprint acceleration
  • Supination visible in defensive stance
  • Particularly well-developed lower body, strong and sturdy base; highly stable player on both ends

V. Archetypal Diagnosis

Offense: Secondary Ball-Handler

Defense: Two-Position

VI. Gradient Score vs. Same-Archetype Prospects


VII. Overall Outlook

Some may have been surprised by Keith Williams’ recent draft declaration, and this sentiment is not without reason: Williams has historically assumed a non-dominant role, often acting as a tertiary offensive option. It’s also difficult to ignore that with incoming departure of Jarron Cumberland–Cincinnati’s dominant presence and primary option–there is a perfect foundation for Williams to further develop/showcase “question mark” areas such as confidence, consistency, and ball-skill. Keith “as is” still boasts potential for a late second-round pick, but if he is to immediately pursue a selection, the onus is on him to properly market his defensive gifts and demonstrate in his workouts that he has made the necessary adjustments and improvements.

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Keith Williams Scouting Report