Johnathan Williams III sat out Missouri’s first exhibition, a 72-31 win last week against NCAA Division II William Jewell.
The Tigers expect to have Williams, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward from Memphis, back in the lineup for the final exhibition tune-up at 2 p.m. Saturday against Missouri-St. Louis at Mizzou Arena.
Williams, who sat out or was limited in practice throughout October while recovering from a meniscus tear in his right knee, returned to practice as a full participant Oct. 30.
“So far, he’s not had any problems,” first-year Missouri coach Kim Anderson said Wednesday during his weekly news conference. “He’s gone pretty much full speed. We kind of limited him initially, but he’s certainly come back strong and hasn’t had any reactions to the injury other than some soreness.”
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That’s excellent news for a Tigers offense still in search of scoring punch.
“At this point, I think we’re still kind of wandering around. … We’re not in sync offensively,” Anderson said. “I didn’t expect us to be, so I think we need to do a good job defining roles for guys.”
It remains an ongoing process, but Williams, who was the MU’s leading rebounder last season and has shown improved scoring range during the summer and fall, is expected to be a big part of the new-look Missouri attack.
Last season, Williams didn’t get the ball in his hands much with Missouri’s perimeter-oriented offense headlined by guards Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross.
That won’t be the case anymore in Anderson’s offense, which emphasizes playing through the post but also will allow Williams — who had trouble last season scoring at the rim against some of the SEC’s longer and bigger bodies — to float away from the block more.
“It wasn’t that I was timid,” Williams said. “It was uncertainty about what I could do, but now I have a coach that believes in me and believes in the things I can do.”
Anderson expects more aggressiveness from Williams at the offensive end this season and also wants to see it from freshman wing Montaque Gill-Caesar, sophomore point guard Wes Clark and senior point guard Keith Shamburger, a Hawaii transfer.
“We need to find scoring and we need for guys to step up and be aggressive on the offensive end, which they should love to hear that,” Anderson said. “I’m not telling them not to score.”