Some kids earn a high ranking by being excellent producers who lead their high school and AAU teams to big showings, others flash significant potential and a high ceiling for what they could become. In the case of Williams he is more the latter.
The 6-foot-7 combo forward is one of the most naturally gifted players in the class. At this point he isn't yet someone who takes over games consistently, but he does show you the natural ability where he could turn himself in to one of the best players in the nation once he gets more experience in a go to role.
At his size Williams is very unique. He is an excellent athlete, he is long, he can make shots, is skilled with the dribble, and shows a decent basketball IQ as well. In fact there is really nothing that Williams struggles to do on the court besides being consistent and having that killer attitude to take over game.
The hope for Williams, and now Illinois, is that growth and maturity leads to him learning how to dominate. Some added time in the weight room will help him there, and also just the comfort and knowing that starting this year for the first time in his life on a game in and game out basis he will be asked to be a leader.
Last year Williams had Jabari Parker, Jaylon Tate, and Kendrick Nunn to lean on at Simeon, and Williams just came off the bench and played his role. Now he will need to be a star, and he will have to do it on one of the brightest stages in the Chicago Public League.
While Williams is likely to show the makings of a budding star as his high school career begins to hit its apex, one good thing for Illinois is they know due to their roster construction that they won't have to lean on him right away when he gets to campus.
The Illini are loaded at the forward spots. Malcolm Hill has impressed already as a freshman at the small forward spot, and he will be an upperclassman when Williams arrives. Then at power forward the highly touted Leron Black will be in his second year with the program, and also transfer Darius Paul will get some minutes at the position, and word from Champaign is that he has been extremely impressive in practices.
Overall Williams is a kid that Illinois had to take an early chance on. His elite talent level and natural ability gives the Illini a potential impact player. To lock him up early says a lot for what Illinois is doing on the recruiting trail, and now they can continue to focus their efforts on some of the other top prospects in the class as Groce and his staff look to load up in Champaign.