Vols firmly in mix for Williams

As the Nike Peach Jam continues, Tennessee prospects showcase their talent, as was the case in a rising senior whose passion for basketball is matched by his on-court intelligence.

Grant Williams drew a hard charge with his team down five in Friday’s game to Team Final in the Nike Peach Jam. After collecting himself off the floor, Williams took the ball at halfcourt and powered past everybody, driving the lane to finish with a nifty lay-in and bring his team within three points of tying things up.

Williams screamed to the heavens as his opponent called a timeout, single-handedly trying to will his Team CP3 unit back into the game. While they would ultimately fall short in an 81-69 loss, the message was clear to his potential head coach, Rick Barnes, who sat just feet away watching his class of 2016 target.

“I try to build my team up, build the fans up, build everything up so we have the best chance to win,” Williams told InsideTenenssee. “I feel like that helps throughout. If you look at Draymond Green and all the other guys in the (NBA), that helps throughout to build a championship team.”

It’s no surprise the 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward from Charlotte went straight to an NBA comparison. Williams, who received an offer from Tennessee in April, is a fan of the league who has watched as Barnes filtered player after player to the next level in his 17 years at Texas.

“It was exciting knowing that Rick Barnes coached Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson and all those big guys at Texas,” he said. “That he felt I was a player to play for him, it felt good.”

The Providence Day School prospect has developed a relationship with Vols assistant coach Desmond Oliver, who first contacted Williams when Oliver was an assistant at Charlotte.

“He’s been with me since he was at Charlotte my freshman and sophomore year. He talks about (Tennessee),” Williams said. “He says it’s the best place for me. He says it’s a terrific campus. They also tell us about Rick Barnes’ coaching and everything else.”

On top of a dynamic energy and ability to attack the rim, Williams also boasts a bright mind that translates particularly well on the basketball court. Aside from his Tennessee offer, the rising senior has collected scholarship invitations from Harvard, Yale, Wofford and Charlotte. Wake Forest and Georgetown have also begun to show interest as well.

Academic excellence is undoubtedly one of the many aspects Williams is looking for in a school, along with a place where he feels comfortable and can compete for early playing time.

“Family aspect, a place where I can come in and make an impact,” he said. “Also, I want a place where I can lead and have great academic success.”

Williams plans on making a decision around the time his high school basketball season starts and said Tennessee will definitely get a visit in some capacity.

“I haven’t really decided where I'm taking my officials yet. I’m going through July, but I’m definitely going to take an unofficial out there if I don’t take an official,” he said.

“I knew that (Tennessee) was pretty good back in the day, and they’re about to be really good now.”

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