Freshman Charles Mann may be Georgia’s future at point guard, but Vincent Williams is still very much part of its present at the position.
The senior was overtaken in the starting lineup by Mann in December after starting the first nine games.
Williams saw his minutes decline to an average of 13.6 per game in the last seven before going off for a career-high 23 points against No. 17 Missouri Wednesday night in a 79-62 loss.
“I’m just doing whatever it takes to help the team win — whatever puts us in the best situation,” Williams said. “Whatever role I have to play, I’ll play it.”
Williams hit 7 of 10 shots, sank three 3-pointers and all six free throw attempts in 27 minutes, topping his scoring best as a Bulldog by nine points.
That raises his profile heading into today’s 8 p.m. game against LSU at Stegeman Coliseum.
“He had a really big game against Missouri and he was explosive,” first-year LSU coach Johnny Jones told reporters in Baton Rouge.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mann, from Milton High School, gives Georgia length at the position that the 6-foot, 165-pound Williams does not, but Williams brings experience, speed and quickness.
Williams showed against Missouri his ability to create his own shot on the drive. The Homestead, Fla., product is second on the team with 17 3-pointers and still ranks third in minutes played.
“I’m just trying to go out there and bring leadership,” Williams said. “Charles is a great player. He’s big, of course. He can bring a lot as well.”
The veteran and the rookie are tied for the team lead with 39 assists, but Georgia coach Mark Fox calls his point guard play “very inconsistent,” on a team that is 6-10 and 0-3 in the SEC.
That’s expected for Mann, who Fox said “has earned a big role, but he’s going to make a lot of mistakes as a freshman point guard because there’s just so much to learn and adjust to.”
Williams already has 29 turnovers, five more than he had all of last season.
“He needs to take the shots that the defense gives him, but he also has to make sure that when he can get another guy a basket, he has to make a play for somebody else,” Fox said.
Fox likes what Mann, who averages 5.8 points per game, can bring to Georgia’s backcourt, but said Mann is still learning to make the proper decision about whether to shoot the ball, attack the rim or pass.
He’s shown in both of Georgia’s conference road games that he’s still learning the ropes.
He picked up a pair of quick fouls against both Florida and Missouri.
Fox said he wants to be fair to Mann, who has played major minutes as a freshman.
“Most freshmen learn from an upperclassmen and have guys in front of them that can carry most of the minutes and they grow in a less pressurized situation,” Fox said.
No matter who is at the point, the Bulldogs ballhandling leaves something to be desired, which was apparent with the 19 turnovers against Missouri. Georgia is 297th in the nation in turnover margin (minus-2.6), 294th in assist/turnover ratio (0.74) and 272nd in assists per game (11.5).
“A lot of teams, in the SEC especially, they pressure the guards,” forward Donte’ Williams said. “A team like Florida, a team like Missouri, they force turnovers.”
Mann, who considers himself a “quiet guy,” said he needs to become a better leader.
“I’ve got to try to get off that, take care of the ball more and just feel more confident about my jump shot,” he said.
Donte’ Williams said Vincent Williams is much more vocal than Mann, but Vincent Williams is not speaking up about wanting to regain his starting job.
“Whatever coach wants me to do, if it’s come off the bench, I’m cool with it,” he said.