Recruiting Heating Up for 2015 Guard
After missing nine weeks last season with a broken wrist, Santa Monica (Calif.) 2015 wing prospect New Williams was a fairly unknown quantity. Over the summer, he proved he's going to be one of the best prospects on the West Coast, and schools started to take notice.
Arizona State, Louisville, Oregon, Pepperdine and San Diego State came in with offers, and more are expected to come, particularly after a strong weekend at the Holiday Hardwood Invitational where the Vikings took home fourth place.
"UCLA's been recruiting me, USC's been recruiting me, I've gotten a lot of letters from Arizona, Florida and Florida State and Tulsa," Williams said after scoring 19 points, dishing out seven assists and pulling down five boards in the third-place game against Fresno (Calif.) Central East. "I got a letter from Stanford, so I'm just trying to keep my options open and see everything come in and just play. I'll see what comes along."
California – which is heavily recruiting Williams's 2016 teammate Jonah Mathews -- has also gotten into the mix.
"I've talked to Cal a lot of times, and they've been at practice," said Williams.
Mathews knows the Bears fairly well, seeing as his older brother Jordan is seeing heavy playing time as a true freshman. Since Williams has played with both Mathews brothers, they're constantly pushing Cal.
"A lot. I've been talking to Jordan, and he's been trying to get me to lean towards them," Williams said.
Despite missing five games this season with a bone bruise in his knee, Williams is seeing a lot of attention, and showed very little hesitance to dribble and drive, cut hard and take charges during the weekend in Westlake. In the second game of the tournament, though, Williams had to come out in the third quarter for a bit, as his leg started cramping up. It was just his second game back from his five-game hiatus.
"In the first game of the season, it was a shooter who was wide open, and I had to close out from the side, and I closed out on him sideways, and when I landed, my knee kind of twisted, and I still played the whole game on it, then it swelled up," said Williams. "I still played the next two games, and then my dad sat me down."
Missing three practices before missing the five games took a bit of a toll on Williams's conditioning, though he'll never admit it.
"When it comes to conditioning, I'm pretty well conditioned. Last year, when I broke my wrist, I came back the day after I got my cast off, and I played in that game that night, and I was rejuvenated," Williams said. "I just had to get back in the rhythm. I was still shooting shots, but I had to readjust to my knee feeling better. I was shooting shots and I wasn't getting the same lift. I had to get more arc, so I had to readjust, so once I readjusted, I was pretty good."
In his first game back – the first day of the tournament – Williams flashed a 360-degree dunk during warm-ups and showed off his 42-inch vertical leap, rising up over just about any defender fool enough to close out on him. In that game, he shot 5-for-11 from the field and went 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, adding two steals, five boards and three assists.
Santa Monica has one more game before starting league play.
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