A Historic Night for 66ers' Williams

For the second straight season, Latavious Williams has worked his way into the Tulsa 66ers’ record book.

A year after setting the franchise mark for rebounds in a game (19), the 21-year-old Williams did it again on Thursday when he pulled down a franchise-best 21 rebounds to punctuate the 66ers’ 100-93 overtime victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

It seemed that wherever the ball went, so did Williams.

He had seven rebounds by halftime and began the second half with a bang, dunking on the 66ers first two possessions before grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds on the next possession. He had eight rebounds in the third quarter alone, five of which came on the offensive glass. He wrapped up the night with three boards in both the fourth quarter and overtime. Ten of his rebounds came on the offensive glass.

“Obviously we think he’s going to be a great rebounder just because he’s so bouncy and he’s a second effort type of guy,” 66ers Head Coach Nate Tibbetts said on Friday. “Some guys just kind of have a knack for rebounding and he’s got a gift. He can rebound the basketball and I think that you’ll probably see other nights like this, too, in the future.”

Friday was Williams’ sixth game of the season after sitting out the first four games with an injury. He’s averaging 14.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Williams is pulling down an average of 2.78 rebounds per minute and ranks fifth in the league in rebounding.

The 6-8, 195-pound Williams has a nose for the ball, is quick off the ground and his athleticism allows him to cover a lot of territory around the paint.

“He can get rebounds with his hustle and he can get rebounds going up over the top of people,” Tibbetts said. “He proved that last night.”

Tibbetts said that Williams studies rebounding whenever he watches game film but that there’s no denying his knack for it. He sees the ball, then goes to get it. And he takes a lot of pride in rebounding.

Williams’ work ethic has improved ever since the 66ers made him the first high school player ever to be drafted into the D-League. Drafted by the Miami Heat with the No. 48 pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, Williams was immediately reacquired by the Thunder that same night.

“I think from last year he’s 15 pounds heavier,” Tibbetts said. “Latavious is only 21-years-old and he brings a blue collar work ethic on the court and in the weight room. So his body’s transformed from where it was last year to now and a lot of it has to do with the work that he’s put in off the court.”

Contact Chris Silva


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