There were five very talented finalist that were reviewed by the Always A Dragon staff to receive our very hypothetical vote for CAA Player of the Year. Daniel Dixon, Justin Wright-Foreman, Joe Chealey and CJ Bryce were all considered. But the award will go to a senior who has not just been an elite player in this league, but may also be the most valuable player to his team. The Always A Dragon CAA Player of the Year is TJ Williams of Northeastern University.
While this award is not a most valuable player award, it’s hard not to notice how much TJ Williams means to his team. In the final six games down the stretch, with Northeastern fighting to stop a losing skid, Williams played 40, 40, 40, 39, 47 and 40 minutes. He was first in the league in minutes with 38.9 a game, and 12th nationally in percentage of teams minutes played. He was first in the conference in usage rate, a measure of how often he is involved in the play. Despite near constant usage and lack of other options on his team for defenses to key on, Williams ended in the top 25 in offensive efficiency, 2nd in the conference in assist rate, and 3rd in scoring. In the conferences biggest win of the season against Michigan State, the senior captain had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He was the second shortest started in the game. In both NU games that went to OT Williams played over 40 minutes, finished with over 20 points, and in the upset win at Elon he finished with a triple double, willing his team to the surprise victory.
In that win at Elon, Williams played alongside fellow senior Jimmy Marshall. Due to the injury bug that has beaten up Coach Coen’s team, every other Husky on the floor was a sophomore or younger. Williams has needed to find a way to create his own shot, extend his range to NBA three point range and remain efficient, all while being a captain for a very young team. It is his leadership and skill that combined to keep his team away from playing in Charleston on Friday night. That combination is also why we have elected to name the graduating senior from Pflugerville, Texas our CAA Player of the Year.