This isn't the greatest photo of Nino Williams. With Jordan Henriquez shooting a basketball directly behind him, and no numbers on those Kansas State practice jerseys, a casual fan might have trouble identifying him at first glance.
But it is an appropriate photo of Williams.
Throughout the past year, this is all we've seen of the redshirt freshman. He came to K-State as a four-star guard with plenty of upside, but when he suffered two concussions and tweaked his hamstring before Big 12 play began he decided to sit out the season with a redshirt.
He only got to play in three games.
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It was a terrible string of luck that could shake the confidence of anyone. But when Williams thinks back on it, he does so with an upbeat attitude.
"Everything happens for a reason," Williams told me recently at a Catbacker Event. "In some ways, I guess, it was a good thing to happen to me."
No wonder he is beginning to earn the nickname, "Smiley."
"Besides basketball, I learned life lessons with the team last year," Williams said. "I learned a lot, like never giving up ... I'm going to put myself out there. How good I get this summer all depends on me. How much I play next season depends on me. (more…)