Kentucky already has one verbal commitment in its 2013 recruiting class — Bullitt East forward Derek Willis — and could find out soon if it will be able to land small forward Troy Williams of Hampton, Va.
The 6-6 junior is ranked as the seventh best overall player in his recruiting class by Scout.com and No. 6 by ESPNU.
He has indicated he will make his college decision sometime between the end of his high school season and the start of AAU?play in the spring. He has North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgetown, Virginia Tech and Villanova at the top of his list and also has offers from Louisville, South Florida, Texas, Florida and Virginia. Most recruiting analysts are anticipating he'll pick either North Carolina or Kentucky.
Scout.com has this evaluation on Williams, 17: "Williams is a very athletic player with a non-stop motor. He can score going to the rim and with his bounce above the rim. Also he is so athletic and has very long arms which allows him to be a lock down defender on the defensive end. Williams needs to get better shooting the basketball, but the tools are there for him to be an elite wing."
Dave Johnson writes for dailypress.com in Hampton and offered these insights about the Virginia standout.
Question: How good is Williams and what do you like best about him?
Johnson: "This shouldn't be interpreted as a criticism, but at the moment I see Troy Williams as a better athlete than player. His athleticism is off the charts. I don't know his exact vertical leap, but he's a 6-6 wing who plays above the rim. (Check out YouTube for ‘Troy Williams Thunderous Dunk vs. Maury'). His negatives are shot selection and occasionally playing out of control. John Calipari, Roy Williams, etc., see those things, but they know they can be polished. And with his ability to run the floor and fly to the rim, they see unlimited potential."
Question: Is he as engaging and personable as he seems, especially with social media?
Johnson: "He really is. I'm sure much of that comes from his uncle Boo, one of the most respected AAU basketball figures in the country. I've come to know Troy pretty well over the last couple of years and have always found him to be polite and engaging. In fact, in talking with him, you'd never guess he's one of the top basketball recruits in the country. If you had a daughter, you'd be fine with him dating her. And not just because he could be a millionaire in a few years."
Question: Why do you think he wants to make his college choice so early?
Johnson: "Not sure about that, other than to say that seems to be what everyone is doing now. Of course, you also know what they say about verbal commitments. They're not worth the paper they're not written on."
Question: With Kentucky's success (winning and first-round, first-year draft picks) under Calipari, what do you think Kentucky's chances might be and would he fit well in the Calipari system?
Johnson: "My opinion, and I'm just a sportswriter, is that Kentucky's system is the most suited for him of the five schools he lists as finalists. And Calipari's success of getting players to the NBA surely doesn't hurt. As an aside, Calipari flew down to Hampton one afternoon just to watch Troy practice. Pretty sure that made a big impression."
Question: How can folks keep up with your stories about him?
Johnson: "Please check out HRVarsity.com for complete coverage of Troy Williams and the Peninsula District. And of course, you can be one of his 3,000-plus followers on Twitter (@troywilliams)."