Arizona Wildcats signee Brandon Williams missed his entire junior season after undergoing knee surgery last year, but he has returned to the court and already looks like his old self.
The 6-foot-2 point guard scored 23 points and was named tournament MVP as the Crespi Celtics won the West Valley Tournament final on Saturday.
“It still feels weird to be (on the court) sometimes,” Williams told the Los Angeles Daily News. “It’s like I’m out of whack, but I know it’s a feel thing. Just want to contribute to the team anyway I can right now.”
Williams is on a minute restriction, playing eight to 10 minutes per his coach, but that isn’t stopping him from putting up huge numbers.
It’s remarkable what Williams can do in that time span, although the standout guard seems to double down on his shooting effort knowing his minutes are limited.
Williams’ contribution, whether he plays it down or not, is pivotal to the Crespi (5-0) offense. His first action of the season didn’t come until the second game of the tournament against Sylmar, he logged limited minutes and scored just six points. Against Viewpoint he scored 19, and in the tournament semifinal against Calabasas, he had 26 points.
While it has been reported that Williams suffered an injury before his junior season, Arizona head coach Sean Miller disputed that earlier this month.
“He had more of a genetic thing with his leg that he was able to get fixed,” Miller said of Williams’ surgery. “To his family’s credit, he did at a time which is very smart. And he missed a lot of action. He wasn’t on the circuit this spring or summer.”
A four-star recruit, Miller said Williams has McDonald’s All-American-caliber talent.
“What we love the most about him is he can score and be a playmaker,” Miller said after UA beat Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 17. “Great off the dribble, physically strong, can shoot the 3-point shot. The way the game has changed where you put different guards out there at the same time and don’t worry about what position they are, Brandon can be on the court with anybody and we look for him to come in and make an immediate impact.”
Despite reports saying Williams was going to wait until the spring to sign with Arizona due to the ongoing federal investigation, Williams signed financial aid paperwork with the Wildcats a couple weeks ago.
However, he did not sign a traditional National Letter of Intent, so he can technically still back out from his commitment depending on the consequences of the investigation.
Fellow Arizona commit Shareef O’Neal did the same thing.
Miller said Arizona has to “build off” the signings of Williams and O’Neal, and that Arizona plans to sign five players in its 2018 class.
Arizona’s 2018 class currently ranks 27th in the country. Williams is the No. 38 prospect, while O’Neal is the No. 32 prospect, according to 247Sports.
Several prospects dropped Arizona from consideration after its involvement in a recruiting bribery scandal was revealed, so it is unclear who the Wildcats are recruiting at the moment.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire