Perhaps there should be an award named for Cornelius Williams, the N.C.
State big man who twice played at least 100 minutes in a season without recording
Williams is the sole 100-minute ACC player since 1980 who went assist-less
more than once. The 6-11 Alabaman also distinguished himself by failing to set up
a teammate's basket during both his sophomore and senior years. Most assist-challenged
players achieve such dubious shutouts as freshmen or as league newcomers, then learn
how to pass the ball, however reluctantly.
Williams was not on the scene in 1986, the vintage season for parsimonious
passers. That year three big men each played at least 156 minutes without recording
an assist. Tony Massenburg, a member of that notable group, went on to a fine career
at Maryland and in the NBA. Pano Fasoulas, who stopped by Raleigh for his senior
year, likewise proceeded to play professionally in Europe.
Several promising candidates for the Williams Award joined the league
this season. If play had ended on Dec. 19, three would have ranked among the best
(or worst) since 1980 at going without an assist -- freshmen Lance Thomas of Duke
and Lewis Witcher of Virginia Tech and Virginia junior Ryan Pettinella, a transfer
Fortunately, there is still plenty of time for that trio, along with sophomore
holdover Kevin Swinton of Wake, to make a pass leading directly to a basket by a
But will they?
Most Minutes Played in a Season Without Recording an Assist
|349||Tony Massenburg, M||1986||Frosh||9|
|263||Norman Nolan, V||1995||Frosh||19|
|208||Cornelius Williams, NCS||2001||Senior||10|
|178||Nigel Dixon, FSU||2000||Frosh||21|
|156||John Dyslin, V||1986||Soph||12|
|144||Lorenzo Charles, NCS||1982||Frosh||10|
|128|| Ryan Pettinella,
|123||Damion Grant, NC||2003||Frosh||11|
|109||Cornelius Williams, NCS||1999||Soph||3|
|102||Kevin Salvadori, NC||1991||Frosh||5|
|Bold indicates active player.|