OSU’s William Buford: College Basketball’s Best Second Banana?

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william buford

By Paul M. Banks

With all the attention on Naismith Award favorite and Oscar Robertson Trophy winner Evan Turner, a few Ohio State Buckeyes often go overlooked. And there are three on the current squad who have a good chance of joining Turner in the NBA in the next couple of years. So I took it upon myself to profile and interview the forgotten Buckeyes. In our final installment (well, maybe we’ll do a feature on Jon Diebler, I don’t know we’ll see how this week goes) we look at the man who took over the leadership role when Evan “the Villain” Turner missed 6 games due to a fractured L2 and L3 vertebrae.

William “Slinky” Buford could easily be the go-to-guy on almost every other team in the NCAA. He’s got a smooth stroke on his mid-range jumper with the ability to stroke it from deep. His other strengths include the ability to slash inside, score from the wing, and he’s a decent threat in transition. On Saturday, I asked his Coach about what his “upside” could be

Q. Could you talk about Buford’s career and development so far, and also just how high do you think his ceiling could be?

COACH MATTA: “Well, I think William has — number one, his ceiling is very high. I think he’s going to be in — and I’ve said this. He’ll go down as one of the all-time greats in Ohio State history. He’s on pace to do that.
I think the biggest growth that I’ve seen in William is just the mental aspect of the game. And I say that from the standpoint he takes a lot more pride now in the minute details of the game of basketball.

And I’ve joked about this with William many times. Last year as a freshman, 19,000 shots taken, you could stop the game, walk out and say what’s the score and how much time is left, he’d be like, “I have no idea, but I’m having the time of my life out here.” He was playing. Now he’s got a great understanding of defending. He wants the challenge of guarding the other team’s best player. He understands the help. He understands the time, the score, the situation offensively.william buford

I think he has a better feel for the actions that we’re running, and his timing and his cutting is a lot better. So I think he’s going to be — he’s going to play basketball for a long time.”

In order for Buford to get there, he’ll need to keep improving his field goals and three point field goal percentages. The 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the year is already a gifted free throw shooter, but he displays the shot selection of a sophomore sometimes, and improving that would make him a more complete player. He could also tighten up on his defense as well.

I asked “Slinky” Buford what part of his game he’s the most confident in?

“Every part, I’ve been working really hard on my defense, scoring rebounding and getting assists too,” he responded. And conversely, what does he think he needs most improvement on?

“Strength and handles, but every part because I can never feel like you can ever be too good at anything,” the 6-5, 200 sophomore from Toledo said. Buford is a good rebounder for his size, and given the positive trajectory his stats have shown these first two years, another season with forward projection and extrapolation of his averages means he could easily be a first round pick in 2011. And like everyone in Ohio, or from Ohio, His favorite player is Lebron by the way.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    Good thing you nicknamed “Slinky” and not Sloopy, Hans. Can you imagine what would happen to the OSU fanbase if they recruited a player named, or even nicknamed Sloopy?

  2. TSB is officially the new web-site of THE OSU

  3. paulmbanks says

    HAHAHA thanks man. BUCKNUTS.com eat your heart out. no seriously I am beginning to feel like I’ve joined THE Ohio State University sports information department or something.

    I know their system like Mel Kiper Jr. knows goofy, poofed up hair

  4. paulmbanks says

    And i can think of at least 2 more Ohio St. stories I have planned before Friday’s game

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