Christian Williams felt the grass was greener at Springfield (IL) Lanphier High. After all, the program produced college prospects at a consistent clip and excelled at the state's Class 3A level.
Williams realized quickly that his heart rested where he was raised. He returned to Decatur (IL) St. Teresa in September. The state deemed him to be ineligible after the movement and it appeared he would sit out his senior season. The sacrifice was worth being back where he belonged.
Following an appeal process, Williams was reinstated to the St. Teresa team after sitting out the team's first 11 contests. An appreciation for the game emerged from the inactivity.
"It just gave me a lot of motivation to get better everyday," the 6-foot-6, 190-pound senior said.
Williams has returned to the court without missing a beat, averaging about 18 points per game after tallying 18.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.9 steals as a junior.
An all-state player last season, Williams expected to sign a national letter of intent in November. He changed his plans after being in limbo and will sign with a college program this spring.
Northern Illinois, Illinois State, Green Bay, Bradley, Illinois-Chicago, Albany, Southern Illinois Edwardsville and La Salle have offered Williams scholarships, he said. He's hearing consistently from those schools as well as Iowa, Saint Louis, Florida Gulf Coast and Minnesota, he said.
Williams has visited Illinois State and Northern Illinois on multiple occasions. He's scheduled to stop at Saint Louis on Feb. 22 and wants to take official visits to Florida Gulf Coast and Minnesota.
This past weekend, Williams visited Iowa for its 71-55 victory against then No. 17 Maryland. He'd been to the campus several times before.
"I really enjoyed it. I loved the environment and thought the guys played well," he said.
Williams was pleased with the feedback he received from the Hawkeye staff.
"I talked with Coach (Kirk) Speraw and he talked with me about my game. He had come to see me play this past week and told me what he was impressed with and what he thought I need to do better. He said that they are very excited about me. Coach (Fran) McCaffery told me he has been hearing I've been doing great and that he can't wait to see me play again and he will be here soon," Williams said.
The combo guard, who plays for the Peoria Irish AAU program, is feeling positive that an Iowa offer is forthcoming.
"Yes, I feel pretty confident about that. I've been pleased with our recent conversations," he said.
And if a Hawkeye opportunity would arrive, Williams would welcome it.
"I really like Iowa. I'm impressed more every time I visit," he said.
Williams said he's not favoring any of the schools involved in his recruitment at this point. He's mostly trying to take advantage of his chance to be on the court again.
"It's helped my offensive game a lot, the time off and then getting back. I feel like I'm getting better," he said.
And Iowa is paying attention.