Some combination of playing with a high school teammate and taking an official visit to Tucson influenced star 2023 point guard Jada Williams. It's impossible to know which were the deciding factors, but the end result is the same. The La Jolla Country Day School and USA Basketball star has flipped her verbal commitment, deciding that she will not play for UCLA and Cori Close as she originally announced in April of 2021 when she was just a sophomore in high school. Instead, she will be an Arizona Wildcat.
Williams is known both for her play on the court and her NIL savvy. She is believed to be the first high school girl's basketball player to sign NIL deals. She has over 632,000 followers on Instagram and has appeared in a Spalding ad with NBA star Damian Lillard. On the court, she's the No. 20 player in the class of 2023, rated five stars by ESPN HoopGurlz.
Although she's originally from Kansas City, Missouri, the rising senior moved across the country and began playing for La Jolla Country Day School in the San Diego area last year. Her teammate there is fellow Arizona commit Breya Cunningham. The two also have paired up for USA Basketball, most recently on the team that took gold in Debrecen, Hungary at the FIBA 2022 U17 Women's World Cup in mid-July.
As a junior at LJCD, Williams averaged 11.4 points, 4.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. At the 2022 U17 Women's World Cup, she averaged 4.4 PPG, 0.4 RPG, and 3 APG. Overall in her USA Basketball career, she averages 12 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 4.6 APG.
Williams visited Tucson during the final weekend of July, posting pictures of herself at a resort surrounded by cacti over the weekend on Instagram. Her future Arizona teammates all made approving comments.
On Sunday evening, Arizona head coach Adia Barnes made her typical "Bear Down" post on Twitter to let fans know that there was a new pledge.
⬇️— ADIA BARNES COPPA ⬇️ ❤️ (@AdiaBarnes) August 1, 2022
On Monday night, it was finally official with Williams making her announcement via social media.
Williams wasn't the only highly-rated recruit to visit Tucson over the weekend. Montaya Dew, the No. 9 player in the class who committed to Arizona in December, was also in town for the festivities. With Williams joining Dew and No. 10 recruit Cunningham, Arizona now has verbals from three of the top 20 players in the 2023 class.
In addition to adding to what should be one of the best classes in the country, Williams' commitment should answer some of the fans' questions about the effects of NIL on Arizona recruiting. For women's basketball, Tucson appears to be a perfectly fine place to both play high-level basketball and pursue NIL opportunities.