Most of the time, at this stage in their careers, rising juniors are told by college coaches "we'd love to have you!" What does that mean? Is it an offer or just interest?
For Williams, it's more than just interest. The 200 pound wing has firm offers from North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and South Carolina. Picking up that many high-major offers at this stage in his career (2 years remaining in high school) isn't the norm.
Williams isn't your normal 2008 wing.
He's got over a 3.5 GPA, a reputation for being a hard worker and a game that lends itself to being recruited at the high-major level. Sit down with him for 5 minutes and one thing is clear: C.J. Williams has a lot to offer a college.
From an academics, character and work ethic standpoint, he's the recruiting equivalent to a lay-up. The kind of kid who isn't going to be tempted to get into trouble or slack off in the classroom. The only real question regarding him is how good he can be.
"As a freshman he was the little duckling not necessarily out of his league but he had a skill level and he gained compared to middle school," Britt coach Ike Walker said. "You could see his sophomore year that he's catching up with the pace of the game and you can see that he's exploded from March until now."
Walker, a former S.C. State player, can't say enough about how much Williams takes the time to work on his game. From the basketball goal in his backyard to the keys to open gyms he's got around Fort Bragg, Williams is a worker.
"It's a perfect example of just working at your craft. He owns a play station but he's not one of these kids who sits in front of it."
Heading into his junior season you can tell he's got high-major talent. He shoots the ball from different spots on the floor and is a good athlete. He'll post up and finish strong when he can. You have to think that that with natural progression – and he's improved every year – he's talented enough to play in a big conference.
Williams' progression has been an evolution of sorts. Minutes as a freshman, more as a sophomore and now he'll be counted on to lead as a junior.
"I was actually the 4th option in the offense as we had 4 all-conference players (last year)," Williams said. "I was able to play the "garbage man" and get all the points off rebounds. Occasionally I stopped at the top and get the trailing 3. It helped me improve my jump shot and my level of play."
One major difference from his sophomore to his junior season is the absence of football in his life. Jack Britt's starting signal caller isn't on the field this season, opting to focus on his dream of being an ACC-level basketball player.
However, football certainly helped him get to this point and watching the games can be tough. "I miss it. The camaraderie of the team and the competition."
The gridiron helped him with the physical aspect of basketball, especially conditioning in the weight room. "I was getting frustrated (as a freshman) because I couldn't get shots off. Now that I've been in the weight room and getting stronger and now I can make more moves and finish them off."
Williams is likely to stay in his region. His father indicated that a decision could come around the beginning of his junior season, should they feel comfortable with a school. At any rate, Williams is clearly doing his homework and at least one school is ready for him to pull the trigger.
‘There are some schools that are pushing me to try and commit," Williams said. "N.C. State is pushing me to commit. Other schools know this is my first year on the showcase and they just want me to remember them when I come down to making a decision."
Some programs, like Wake Forest, have seen him and plan on stopping down at his school this month but haven't offered. Not everyone is ready to begin offering young kids this early, something the family understands.
"There's nobody that I'm waiting on. The schools that are recruiting me are fine. I just want to play basketball wherever I can."
A lot of kids talk about academics and how important they are. In some cases that's a lot of lip service. Williams is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Not only is academics a major factor in his decision, he's already got a firm grasp of what the college experience and education can do for him.
"That's the important thing. I need to make sure I get my academics first because my basketball might end tomorrow so I have to get my mind straight first."
Sounds like it already is.