Jeremiah Williams serves as the catalyst of Temple’s offense, with just about everything on the floor running through him.

Williams has become a much more cerebral point guard since joining the Owls last season. Dissecting defensive schemes while communicating adjustments on the fly is now instinctual for Williams, who has elevated his role on the court and become a direct extension of Temple’s coaching staff.

“He has to be the voice out on the floor,” coach Aaron McKie said. “He has to be composed and keep his focus throughout because he has to help the other guys out on the floor. He’s getting better and he’s playing a lot of minutes for us.”

McKie didn’t make the trip for Temple’s 66-62 road win over Central Florida after entering the team’s COVID-19 protocol the day prior. Associate head coach Monté Ross served as interim coach.

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Williams took on a heightened role with McKie out on Wednesday night. He scored 13 points and recorded six assists while playing all but one minute in regulation for a career-high.

Ross said Williams was active in each huddle and helped guys understand where they needed to be on the floor. He also said Williams doesn’t get the credit he deserves for how much the staff leans on him.

With eight seconds on the clock, the 6-foot-5 point guard drove toward the paint off a high ball screen from Nick Jourdain. The Knights’ 2-3 zone collapsed. The decoy action left Damian Dunn open on the wing to bury the game-winning three off Williams’ assist.

“I’ve been doing a lot better job of putting people in the right spots, running the offense, breaking down and understanding defenses more,” Williams said. “I think I’ve been doing a way better job with just the flow of the offense from last year.”

McKie uses film study to pinpoint the most minute details.

If Williams snakes downhill off a high screen, his coach may point out that his dribble isslightly too high, making passes a step slower. Or if he gets under the rim, McKie will harp on keeping his eyes up to recognize the open skip pass.

In contrast, assistant coach Chris Clark, Temple’s de facto offensive coordinator, helps with the mental side of basketball.

Together, Clark and Williams will identify mismatches and read defenses. Williams credits their talks with playing a major role in his development.

“Maybe we run this play twice; if I see something, I can make the adjustment myself later in the game,” Williams said. “Run that same play and keep it in my back pocket for a quick hitter if I can. Or maybe we know this person on the other team can’t guard this type of action or can’t guard multiple actions, run this play to key in on those actions.”

Williams played at St. Laurence High School and Simeon High School in Chicago before committing to Temple. Neither high school program allowed Williams to pick out mismatches or think through the game in such great detail as a younger player.

McKie will often set the tone early with certain play calls. From there, Williams kind of has free reign. Based on what they see, McKie and Williams then make in-game adjustments.

Temple has hung its hat on defense under the third-year coach. But in halfcourt sets, according to Williams, he can dictate the offense on most possessions.

“Each game he has a tough assignment because we try to put him on the best perimeter player or perimeter scorer,” McKie said. “That’s asking a lot. And then he’ll come down the other end and set the table for us.”

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Against UCF, he was tasked with guarding Knights leading scorer Darin Green Jr. The junior guard, who averaged 15.1 points per game heading into the contest, was held to just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field.

Williams averages a team-leading 31.6 minutes and is the only Temple player to play in every game last season and so far this year. Fellow guards Dunn, Khalif Battle, and Tai Strickland have each dealt with respective injuries that forced them to sit on the sidelines.

That fact has forced Williams to make adjustments and build chemistry with every player on the roster as Temple reaches deeper into the bench.

“There’s no pressure,” Williams said. “I’m very confident in our team no matter if [6-foot-9 big man] Arashma [Parks] was our two man. I have to do my best to put those guys in the best situations for them.

“I look at it as a blessing for me to have so much responsibility.”