PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- When Scout.com caught up with Auburn signee New Williams at the Jordan Take Flight Challenge inside the expansive Jordan Hanger in Southern California, it was the one-year anniversary of his final junior game.
“I came off a wrist injury my sophomore year, and the first game of the season, I tore my ACL, but I didn’t know, so I played on it for three months, and when we found out, I had to sit,” said Williams. “Today is the year anniversary from my last game.”
In a 54-42 loss to Sun Valley (Calif.) Village Christian and USC-bound Bennie Boatwright, Williams showed few ill effects of his knee injury, scoring nine points, dishing out three assists and pulling down three rebounds. His gym-jumping vertical is more than just intact; it’s bigger than ever before.
“It feels really good. I came back quicker than usual, felt way more explosive,” Williams said. “I had a great rehab place – MPI, with Chris Powers – and he got me back. I added six inches to my vertical, made me much more explosive, so it was good.”
Williams’s knee is so good, in fact, that he took part in his first ever dunk contest on Jan. 2, as part of the Take Flight Challenge, and won the whole thing.
“The last dunk that I did was a two-handed reverse windmill off a lob,” he said. “It meant a lot. That was my first dunk contest, ever. I had never been in one, before, and somebody nominated me to come in, so I came out and had to win it for my team. I wish I could have won this game for my team. That would have topped this weekend.”
While some teams backed off of Williams following the injury, given Williams’s raw athleticism, the Tigers are getting a steal. Williams still has to learn how to rein himself in, at times, but he’s got a very high ceiling, and he’s excited to suit up.
“Very excited. Right now, I’m focusing on, right here, helping my team win. We’re on a bad run, right now, but we’re going to pick it up,” Williams said. “After we pick this up here, if we win something here, I can’t wait to go to Auburn and win something there.”