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Arizona baseball recruiting: Facilities and relationships draw Donta Williams to Wildcats

Donta Williams is sure to be one of the best position players at Arizona in the years to come

Jason Bartel

We've heard it time and time again from recruits in all sports. Arizona Wildcats coaches relate to players better than staffs at most schools.

Here's yet another one of those cases.

Donta Williams, a 2017 outfielder out of Las Vegas that committed to Arizona back in July, was named to Perfect Game's 1st-team All-American underclassman list prior to the start of this high school baseball season. He hit .375 as a freshman in 2014.

In his recruitment process, Williams feels that Jay Johnson and the rest of the Arizona staff went above and beyond in their connection with him compared to the two other schools that were in play, Nevada and UNLV.

Johnson recruited Williams to come to Nevada before taking the Arizona job.

"He was talking to me before he got the job at U of A," Williams told me. "He was talking to me at UNR, and when I found out he got the job at U of A, it was huge for me and I thought maybe we can carry over some things and talk some more and it went from there."

"Coach J and I have a really strong relationship," continued Williams. "I feel like Coach J is the person that will get me to the next level, and he'll work me as hard as I can. He knows who I am as a person too, and the UNLV coach never really got to me in that way."

"(Johnson)'s different than all those other coaches."

Williams has a pretty strong connection to UNR, and that is his sister, who goes to college in Reno.

"Every time we went to visit (my sister), I would go down to campus and talk with (Johnson) and he would show me the campus and everything," Williams said of his visits to UNR. "So I took a couple visits down there."

One thing that will greatly benefit Coach Johnson at Arizona is the facility improvement he has experienced by making the jump. Williams got a taste of that when he came to Tucson for the Junior Olympics last summer.

"I wouldn't," Williams said when I asked how he would compare Arizona and UNR. "It's not even close to being as nice. Arizona's a whole different world."

"Just how beautiful the town is," he explained of the one thing that stood out. "It's just a college town and everything revolves around U of A."

Hi Corbett itself sets up nicely for an outfield prospect like Williams as well.

"It's beautiful," Donta added about Arizona's ballpark. "It's the perfect ballpark for me. It's huge, and especially when I'm hitting gaps I get doubles and triples every time. And it's just the perfect setup for me and I just love the place."

"The training and weight rooms are top notch too, and I feel like that's just a place where I become a better ball player and that's where my journey begins."

Williams also brings exactly the skillset that the Arizona staff is looking to improve and take advantage of on the offensive side of things moving forward.

"Speed and running the bases hard," Williams said were his greatest strengths. "And getting on base and patrolling the outfield. I don't think many people can cover the gaps in ballparks that big. Just knowing how I hit, that's a triple and double every time for me."

The day before committing to Arizona, Williams took a visit to hometown UNLV, making that the third school he'd visited.

"UNLV had a lot to offer me and showed me around the campus, and I was just thinking like this is nothing compared to what the University of Arizona has and how top-notch their facilities are."

Donta plans on majoring in either sports management or marketing when he makes his way to college.

Assistant coach Sergio Brown plays a huge role in the recruiting as well. Roman Phansalkar talked to me about how Coach Brown wowed his mom with book knowledge, and Williams had an experience with Brown as far as the education side of things.

"He's really focused on academics and making sure we're on the right path to get into college and stuff," Donta explained. "He's just on top of us, making sure we have all our work done for baseball and school."

Right now, all Williams will have to worry about is his schoolwork, as he will miss the high school season after undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee.

But he should be back this summer, and will have one more year of high school to improve upon his talents before heading down to Tucson to patrol that enormous Hi Corbett outfield.