Philadelphia forward commits to the Hawks

On Tuesday night, Saint Joseph's received their first commitment in the class of 2013. In doing so, they kept one of the top big men in Philadelphia close to home.

Hawk Hill Hardwood received notice of Jai Williams and his commitment to Saint Joseph's early Tuesday evening. By pledging to the Hawks, Williams is the Hawks' first commitment in the class of 2013. In all likelihood, Phil Martelli and the St. Joe's coaching staff will look for two more players in the class.

Shortly after he called Martelli to announce his commitment to the Atlantic 10 program, Jai, and his mentor Rasool Hajj, spoke with Hawk Hill Hardwood.

Jai, who attends Philadelphia Electric (PA) and plays AAU with the Hunting Park Warriors, just returned home from a busy July with the Warriors.

Checking in at roughly 6'9, Williams is a true post player in a time when most big men prefer to roam the perimeter. He is able to use his wide frame in the post to score around the rim, rebound, and alter shots.

There are a number of factors that ultimately led to Jai's commitment to the Hawks. "Phil (Martelli) was the first head coach to really show that serious interest." Hajj went on, saying that Jai also has a very close relationship with Hawk assistant coach Geoff Arnold.

Jai went more in depth on the Hawk coaching staff. "I liked how the coaches were up-front," he said. "They told me that I'd have to work to play. I'm not just coming in and having anything given. I appreciated that."

On the Saint Joseph's campus, Jai said, that from the first time he visited Hawk Hill, he "fell in love" with the school.

Rasool also explained that Jai has developed a strong relationship with the current Hawk roster. In particular, he said, "Ron (Roberts) and him, they have a good relationship." In addition to his relationship with the coaches, campus, and roster, Hajj revealed that the Big 5 also played a role in his commitment. "Playing in the Big 5, with all those great schools every year" appealed to the 6'9 post player.

While Saint Joseph's has been the presumed favorite for Jai for quite some time, there are a number of other schools that were involved. He listed "La Salle, VCU, Oklahoma, Drexel, Temple, and Niagara" as some of the schools that were also involved in his recruitment.

In signing 6'9 Jai Williams, the Saint Joseph's coaching staff was able to keep a Philadelphia Public League player in the city for his college career. Williams is the first of what will likely be three 2013 commitments for the Hawks. With C.J. Aiken, Ron Roberts, and Halil Kanacevic as seniors when Jai arrives on Hawk Hill, he will have a year to get his feet wet in the Atlantic 10 before jumping into a prime role.

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