Dennis Williams, who prefers to be called D.J., is a 6'-6", 188-pound small forward from Simeon Academy in Chicago. Only a freshman, Williams is seeing playing time on the Simeon sophomore and varsity teams. Williams provides an update on how his freshman season is going.
"It is going good right now. I play mainly on the sophomore team and a little varsity. The sophomore team started off 0-2, but we picked it back up and got our chemistry together and are 4-2 now. Varsity is (undefeated) right now as well.
He is also doing well personally.
"The season is going well for me so far. I plan on helping my team win a city championship on the sophomore and varsity level and also winning another state championship."
Seeing varsity playing time for Simeon is impressive at any age, yet alone a freshman. Simeon is ranked the No.1 high school team in the nation by ESPN, led by stars Kendrick Nunn, Steve Taylor, Jaylon Tate and the nation's top 2013 prospect Jabari Parker. Williams shares what it's like to be part of such a prestigious group.
"The feeling is awesome. I get to learn from some of the best coaches and players around. They make me better every day, and I feel really comfortable playing with them."
Williams obviously has a unique set of skills to be playing varsity as a freshman. He shares several aspects in his game he believes stick out about him.
"I'm a smooth operator, and I have a high knowledge for the game. Some other strengths are my spin move, my crossover and my athletic ability, which includes being able to dunk now."
Being so young, Williams knows he still has much to improve if he wants to be the next "big thing" at Simeon.
"I need to work on getting stronger under the basket and just being more consistent with my game overall."
Williams had a good AAU season as well. He plans to play for a new team next spring.
"I played with Ferrari 14U. I felt the season went very well, but I plan to play with Meanstreets next year."
Williams visited Illinois for the first informal scrimmage before the OSU football game in October. Although it was just a scrimmage, Williams walked away impressed. He also got the chance to speak to coaches Bruce Weber and Jerrance Howard and was happy with those conversations.
"It was a good experience; it was a great college atmosphere. I plan on taking another visit there soon, but I am not sure when because of my heavy season schedule.
"I also spoke to both Weber and Howard. They basically said they loved the potential they saw in me, which will make me work even harder."
Illinois isn't the only school Williams has attracted. Several other high-profile college basketball programs have begun to take a look at the freshman phenom.
"Illinois, Stanford, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Memphis, and Marquette."