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Rick Barnes wants more aggression out of star forward Grant Williams

Rick Barnes just wants Grant Williams to get to the rim.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee offense looked a little different against Georgia on Saturday. The Volunteers’ leading scorer and tone-setter Grant Williams only attempted eight shots on the night, seeing just one fall through the net. It was his least productive night of the entire season.

You knew that would prompt a pep talk from Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes. Barnes spent quite a bit of his media availability today talking about his star forward.

“We talked about it a lot last night. Grant just has to get back to being the guy that’s not just thinking about scoring,” Barnes said. “He’s got to get back to where he’s wanting to impact the game if the shots aren’t going in. He’s got to get back to being himself — and he will.”

Williams is averaging over 15 points per game this season. He’s served at Tennessee’s go-to option in crunch time this season, but Barnes has been left wanting more by his efforts as of late.

“Grant isn’t fighting enough to make aggressive, attacking the rim type shots,” Barnes said. “He’s settling. He’s taking eight to ten foot jump-hooks, which is not his best shot. He’s going to have to work on it and get more aggressive and attack the basket more.”

While those short range hooks and jumpers are in Williams’ repertoire, they aren’t his bread and butter. Tennessee’s offense clicks when Grant is bulling his way to the hoop and drawing contact. We saw a little bit of that against South Carolina last week, but not nearly enough.

Georgia forced him to play out from under the rim and the shots just weren’t falling for him. That’s something that can’t happen over the next few weeks for Tennessee.

“He can’t get away from who he is. He’s always been the underdog. He wasn’t a highly recruited player. That’s always been his motivation, he just can’t get away from that.”