Basketball Recruiting Roundup
In this week's Basketball Recruiting Roundup, we continue our 10-part series breaking down the nation's Top 10 hoop recruiting classes.
In the previous weeks, we tackled No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 5 Washington and No. 6 Louisville. Now it's time to move on to No. 7:
This is higher than a lot of analysts have Georgia's recruiting class ranked, but as we've discussed before, we give extra credit to schools that sign star players.
And when it comes to the Class of 2005, there might be no bigger star than South Gwinnett (Ga.) shooting guard Louis Williams, who is rated the No. 1 recruit in the country by SchoolSports.com.
Williams is a dynamic scorer and explosive athlete who can go off for 40 or 50 points on any given night. Always a threat from deep, in the past year he has also become more adept at taking advantage of his athleticism and driving to the hoop for higher-percentage shots.
Though not exactly a prototypical shooting guard at 6-foot, 172 pounds, Williams plays much bigger thanks to his leaping ability.
He has the talent and confidence to make a major impact at Georgia as a freshman — if he makes it to campus, that is. As the No. 1-rated high school senior in the country, Williams could forgo college altogether and head straight for the NBA.
Scouts are split on his straight-to-NBA prospects — though he's the No. 1 recruit in the senior class, few believe he's the best preps-to-pros pick — and his lack of size could hurt his stock in the draft. But he'd likely be a first-round pick regardless, which is often the deciding factor for high schoolers.
"I want to be part of helping build the program (at Georgia) up to where we compete in the national championship," Williams recently told SchoolSports. "But my ultimate goal is to play in the NBA. I'm still committed to Georgia, but if the opportunity presents itself in the form I'd like it to, then it could happen for me."
With that in mind, Georgia's No. 7 ranking on this list is a bit tenuous and is contingent on Williams playing for the Bulldogs next year.
Of course, even if Williams skips college for the NBA, Georgia will still have a solid class thanks in large part to the signing of Williams' high school teammate, South Gwinnett (Ga.) point guard Mike Mercer.
Mercer, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound playmaker, is rated the No. 21 recruit in the Class of 2005 by SchoolSports.com and might be among the most underrated players in the country.
With strong point guard play a requirement for success at the college level, Mercer will give the Bulldogs a heady floor leader with exceptional passing skills and court vision. He also has a knack for making teammates better, which is becoming a lost art form.
Though Williams and Mercer are the only Top 100 recruits, Georgia picked up another huge — albeit late — commitment earlier this month when Dacula (Ga.) shooting guard Billy Humphrey gave a verbal commitment to the Bulldogs.
Humphrey isn't rated in the Top 100, but his stock skyrocketed this season after he posted back-to-back 50-point games last month. He is averaging better than 30 points per game this season and will provide insurance for the Bulldogs in case Williams heads to the pros.
In addition to those three backcourt players, Georgia also signed a trio of big men: Morton (Texas) 6-foot-10 center Kendrick Johnson, Graceville (Fla.) 7-foot center Rashaad Singleton and Coastal Christian (Va.) 6-foot-7 power forward Terrance Woodbury.
None of those three is likely to emerge as a star at Georgia, but they at least give the Bulldogs some legit size, which is always at a premium.
Still, the key for this class will be Williams.
With Mercer and Humphrey in the backcourt, this class should help get Georgia back on track regardless of whether Williams goes pro. But if the Bulldogs hope to join the nation's elite, they'll likely need Williams on campus to make that happen.
Check back next week for our breakdown of the No. 8 recruiting class from Mississippi State.