The future of Arizona Wildcats basketball will shift dramatically one way or another Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PT when Brandon Williams chooses a school.
The five-star point guard, ranked as the No. 31 player in the 2018 class, will pick between Arizona, Oregon, and Gonzaga.
Oregon is trending as the favorite, per 247Sports Crystal Ball, but where do we think Williams will wind up?
Here are are our predictions:
Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona
It’s always been Arizona for Brandon Williams. Sean Miller has been recruiting him for the better part of four to five years, and if you’re looking at the Arizona program from a macro view, nothing has changed.
Yes, there may be an FBI investigation into Book Richardson but at the moment, that’s as far as it goes. Miller and the basketball program are, at the moment, on the same solid ground that they’ve been on the entire time (save for a week after the ESPN report).
I mention this because Williams wanted to come to Arizona. The UA is, in my view, his first love, and I feel he’ll return home to the desert — reassured that this program will not be hit with an NCAA tournament ban (which is the only thing that could make us unattractive at this point).
Now, Oregon is very, very attractive with a top-three recruiting class led by Bol Bol (another FBI casualty, RIP) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land there. However, I feel Williams’ commitment will spur Jordan Brown to do so as well, giving Arizona a, wait for it, top-10 recruiting class, again.
Jason Bartel — Arizona
I’m not gonna try to pretend I can get inside the head of a high-profile 18-year-old. I think that’s a lost cause for just about anyone. My analysis here is basically hey he happens to be deciding on Cinco de Mayo and that must mean Arizona over two schools in the Northwest.
In all seriousness, I think he just wanted to look at his other options after Arizona found itself in the middle of the FBI storm, and perhaps he wanted to wait longer so there’s no pressure to sign a real Letter of Intent and still have the option to play overseas or somewhere else if something does happen this summer.
Gonzaga would be my second choice since he just visited there, but announcing at the Ballisfife All-American Game seems like a pre-arranged deal and the visits were moved up to make that particular date happen.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona
I’m torn between Arizona and Oregon, and I actually think UO is the best spot for Williams, since he’d be in a lineup with Bol Bol, Louis King, Payton Pritchard, and Kenny Wooten. That would easily the best fivesome in the Pac-12.
But Arizona has always been Williams’ No. 1 option, and even though the talent around him there wouldn’t be as good as it would be at Oregon, he would still be the go-to guy on a team that is capable of winning the Pac-12.
It was smart of him to gauge other options, but there haven’t been any new problems facing Arizona since the wiretap report, and if anything the program has become more stable since it’s clear Sean Miller will be the coach in 2018-19.
Lorenzo Romar leaving for Pepperdine could be a difference-maker, though. Williams seemed pretty high on that addition last summer.
Basically, I’m expecting Arizona or Oregon to be the destination for Williams, with the slight edge given to the Wildcats. I’ll be stunned if he chooses Gonzaga.
Matthew Shapiro — Arizona
Although Williams decommitted from Arizona I think he is headed right back to Tucson. If Williams goes back to Arizona he will be the main guy there where at Oregon he wouldn’t be.
The University of Arizona investigated the Sean Miller wiretaps scandal and came away with nothing so if Williams doesn’t attend Arizona that is probably not the reason why. The main reasons why Williams might choose oregon over Arizona is because they are stacked with talent and Williams is close to some of the players.
According to 247Sports, Oregon has the 3rd best recruiting class in the country. Bol Bol, Oregon’s top commit is close to Williams and could impact his decision. If Williams plays for the Ducks they will have the best team in the Pac-12 and could make a run in the tournament. Although they may be some benefits to joining Oregon, Arizona has always been Williams’ top school and I do not think that will change.
Which school will Brandon Williams pick?
This poll is closed
The Pokémon graphic was created by @GrantGoldberg