Williams leads Legit to UAA Finals open semis

Led by star forward Malik Williams, the No. 30 overall player in the Class of 2017, Team Legit has raced into the semifinals of the UAA Finals Open division tournament today.

Fort Wayne Snider forward Malik Williams is pushing five-star range and continues to make a case for the ranking this week at the Under Armour Finals in Georgia.

Playing for his longtime program Team Legit, Williams went on a tear after a Wednesday night five-point loss to the Uncommon Bulls. 

In his next four games Williams averaged 29.3 points. That helped lead Team Legit to four straight wins and a berth in this morning's 17 & Under Open quarterfinals against Team Breakdown.

There at the Lakepoint Indoor Pavilion in Cartersville, Team Legit raced out to a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back in a 73-49 victory.

Later today Legit will face CP25 Southeast Elite for a spot in this weekend's 17U Open championship game.

"It's been a good week and we're just trying to finish it out strong. It's our last summer together," Williams said earlier in the week. 

It's a nice accomplishment already for coach Juan Gorman and his team. The squad also features his son Jordan Gorman, a teammate of Williams at Snider. 

Despite not having a shoe circuit program, Team Legit has kept Williams and a core group of mostly Fort Wayne area players together for the long haul.

"Most of us have been playing together since fifth grade." Williams said. "They're like brothers to me. Going into my freshman year I went to change and I didn't. It just didn't feel the same."

Ranked by Scout.com as the No. 30 player in the Class of 2017, Williams is on the cusp of five-star range and serious McDonald's All-American game consideration next March.

He said this week he sees himself as "a stretch four who plays on the wing a little bit." His ability to handle it well and shoot consistently from deep seem to make that a realistic role for the 6-foot-10 prospect.

Indiana coach coach Tom Crean watched Williams on Friday. Rob Judson and Tim Buckley were regulars at his games on Wednesday night and during Thursday action.

Williams appreciates the continuing attention.

"It's high (interest) I believe and they were my first offer and they’ve been there the longest,” Williams said. “It’s just a nice relationship down there, and it’s a nice time every time I go down to visit."

Besides Crean, Williams has drawn looks in Georgia from head coaches like Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, Fran McCaffery, Chris Mack, Matt Painter and John Thompson III.

Assistants from UCLA, Oregon, NC State, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati have also been at some of his contests this week.

Tom Izzo and assistant Dane Fife were front and center for his first UAA Finals game this week and the Spartans hosted him on his most recent unofficial, a late June trip.

"Just wanted to go up and see the campus, talk to coach (Tom) Izzo, talk to some of the team. I got some runs in with some of the guys. It was a nice visit, I learned a couple things."

Rick Pitino was at his opener in Georgia as well as his first game last week in Philadelphia.

The Cards hosted him last month and have a fan in his mother Natasha Gibson, according to his quotes last month to our sister site, Cardinal Authority. 

"She loved Louisville," Williams said. "That's always been her team in college growing up, she told me Louisville was her favorite team. It won't play a big factor, but she really liked Louisville."

With his interest growing thanks to his big July, Wiliams may not narrow things down next month as planned. In the late spring he said he would come out with a short list of schools on August 26th, his 18th birthday.

"I am not sure yet. I might," Williams said. "If I do it, it would be about five schools."

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