Williams Returns Home To Arkansas
One of the highest-ranked players at Arkansas' Elite Basketball Camp on Saturday was a young man that is actually returning home after spending his sophomore season in Dallas and picking up three Division I offers.
Maumelle junior guard De'Shawn Williams (6-1, 165) played last season at Prime Prep, the school that former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders started that no longer has its doors open.
“Now that Prime Prep has shut down, I am coming back to play for Maumelle,” Williams said. “I am excited to be back in Arkansas and am looking forward to having a big season with my team.”
Williams averaged 14 points last season off the bench for Prime Prep, a school that produced the nation's number one player in Emmanuel Mudiay.
Mudiay signed with SMU, but will end up playing in China after signing a $1.275 million dollar contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers .of the Chinese Basketball Association.
“We had a really great group at Prime Prep and he was just a great, great player and someone that was a lot of fun to play with,” Williams said. “It was a great experience overall for me because I got a lot of exposure from being there and a lot more college coaches know who I am now. I have just got to keep building on that.”
He thinks the year at Prime Prep helped his mentality.
“I think I add toughness, just becoming more of a dog, like getting after it every play,” Williams said. “I'm learning more about basketball."
Williams has earned a trio of offers from UConn, TCU and Colorado with interest from several other schools including Arkansas and head coach Mike Anderson.
“The schools that have been showing interest in me are UConn, Colorado, Arizona State, Mississippi State and SMU,” Williams said. “My offers are from UConn, TCU and Colorado. It would mean a lot for me to get one from Arkansas. I really like what Coach Anderson and the guys are doing up here.”
Williams, who got a lot of recruiting attention after scoring 27 points,in a game against Findley Prep in December is known best for his 3-point shooting and noted that Oklahoma State and Florida State have also shown interest lately.
“The best thing I do is shoot the basketball, especially from 3-point range,” Williams said. “I am still working on becoming better handling the ball and defensively. But I feel like everything is coming together for me.”
He played for the Arkansas Hawks at the Reel Deal on the Hill and then went on to play for Mo Williams Elite, which reached the semifinals of the Fab 48 in Las Vegas.
“The spring and summer went really well for me,” Williams said.
“It's been a long summer, but I just wanted to come up here and work out in front of what I hope are my future coaches,” Williams added. “I would love to play here in my home state for the Razorbacks. I got to see them play against SMU here last season (on Nov. 18) and it was fun to watch. I could see myself playing for Arkansas.”
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Fayetteville junior guard Payton Willis (6-4, 165) was another of the state's top 2016 prospects on hand Saturday, but he did not participate due to an injury.
He helped lead the Arkansas Wings to both the Nike Peach Jam and 16-and-under AAU National championships and noted that he is now getting recruiting interest from Arkansas, Rice, Mississippi State and South Alabama.
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Also in attendance was a plethora of young talent, including 7-1, 185-pound freshman Connor Vanover of Arkansas Baptist in Little Rock and Tulsa Edison freshman guard Stefone Richardson, the grandson of former Razorback head basketball coach Nolan Richardson.
Other top freshmen on hand were Little Rock Parkview forward Ethan Henderson (6-5), Tallahassee, Fla., forward Reginald Perry (6-7, 200) and Houston LeBay forward DeShang Williams-Weaver (6-7, 180).
A few of the top sophomores were Rogers Providence Academy center and Nigerian-born SK Shittu (6-9, 186), El Dorado's Daniel Gafford (6-10, 201)) and Vilonia sophomore forward Matthew Stanley (6-6, 175) also stood out.
Marked Tree's D'Angelo Griffin (6-2) headed up the juniors in attendance.
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