Louisville signee Malik Williams began preparations for the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic on Thursday at the event's practice session held at Male Traditional High School's primary gym.
Williams, who will be playing with fellow Cardinal signees Lance Thomas, Darius Perry and Jordan Nwora in Saturday's game, expressed excitement in the opporutinty to play in front of U of L fans and alongside his future teammates.
"It's a great feeling," he told Cardinal Authority. "To get the chance to come to Louisville to play in front of some of the fans, along with Darius, Lance and Jordan, it's a great feeling."
While many may anticipate the 7-footer from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Snider to fill the role of a big man that plays with his back to the basket, Williams has displayed throughout his career that he is more comfortable running the floor and creating matchup problems on the wing. He models his game after Golden State Warrior forward Kevin Durant because of "how he can handle the ball and shoot the ball, and he's a humble guy, too"
Williams led Snider to a conference title by proving to be effective from both the inside and outside. He averaged a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while also registering four blocks per game.
"I'm hoping to bring some versatility and some nightmare matchups for the defense," he said.
Incoming U of L point guard Darius Perry, who will team with Williams in the KDF contest, admitted that Williams was his favorite player in the country last season.
"I watched all (his highlight videos)," said Perry. "He was my favorite player in high school. I like how Malik always get back on defense like nothing happened. He'll dunk on like four people and then run back like it didn't happen with everybody going crazy."
A Scout.com five-star prospect, Williams checks in as the nation's No. 20 overall player and the top big-man from the Hoosier State. He highlights a Louisville recruiting class that ranks 10th in country and has instant-impact expectations.
The goal for the weekend is to prove that those expectations are realistic and that "that Louisville has something special coming in."