“He’s really good.”
That’s what Brandon Williams’ coach at Crespi Carmelite High School, Russell White, repeatedly told me throughout our interview. Now, one might think this is a coach wanting to prop up his player, but in this instance at least, it’s right on the money.
Williams is a top-20 overall talent and the fifth-ranked point guard in a class that boasts a tremendous amount of guard talent.
Last season with his AAU team, California Supreme, Williams averaged nine points and four assists per game while shooting 41 percent on the EYBL Circuit, but increased his scoring to 18 points per game on 46 percent shooting at Nike Peach Jam Tournament. He also added two assists per game. With Crespi, he averaged 16 points and three assists as a sophomore on 43 percent shooting. He also had four games of twenty-five or more points.
The 6-foot-3 junior brings a plethora of talent to his team, said Coach White.
“He’s got a tremendous feel for the game,” White said. “His ability to see the floor. His ability to put the ball in the hoop are elite for his level. He has a knack for making plays at the right time.”
“He’s played two seasons of high school and has walked away with two state championships,” continued White. “We’ve had three D-1 players come from his school (DeAnthony Melton (USC), London Perrantes (Virgina), DJ Ursery (Pacific)), and Brandon could be the best of them all. He’s just a really good basketball player. He can score it, can pass it, (though he) will need to defend more at the next level, but that’s not abnormal.”
Brandon has a natural ability to know when to score and when to distribute depending on the situation. Last summer with Cal Supreme, Williams had Arizona commit DeAndre Ayton and Arizona target Brandon McCoy on his team, which put him into a more traditional point guard role.
“He was distributing and running the show,” White explained. “I watched those games and he could score when needed to and it was available, but he didn’t have to score and he didn’t look to score. I was really impressed with that ability to play both ways.”
“I think (his passing ability) is pretty natural,” Williams’ coach continued. “Things like that, coaches can coach and talk all they want, I think it’s pretty natural, to be frank. He’s a willing passer…I think it takes a knack to know there are guys around you that can score and want to score.”
At Crespi, Williams will be asked to be their top scorer, a role he can slide into effortlessly.
“One of the things I really like about him, he’s shown the ability to be both,” added his coach. “For our team, he will be a score first — as our best talent and best scorer.”
However, Crespi won’t have his scoring prowess this season as Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury last fall. He had surgery in January and is “on his way to a full recovery” according to his coach.
In terms of his recruitment, the five-star guard has seen no teams back off.
“To my knowledge, no one has fallen off due to his injury,” White explained. “He’s going to be really good wherever he ends up going. I would expect him to go in and contribute very early. He’s going to be really good and I have every confidence in that. He’s got things in his make-up that no coach can teach. Those things make him very valuable. He’s got a chance to be the best to come out of Crespi.”
Williams was at the Red-Blue game and Arizona has put a lot of time and effort into this recruitment. However, U of A isn’t the only top program courting the point guard. Kansas, UCLA, USC, Cal, Virginia, UConn, and Gonzaga are also coming after him with all they’ve got.
He told Scout in January, “Everybody is still there. All the 13 or 14 schools that have offered. I wouldn’t necessarily rank anybody in my top 3 or anything like that. I have a top 5 in mind, but I don’t want to announce that yet.”
As for the next steps, the guard touched on that also.
“Next steps for me are obviously seeing if any other schools are interested once I come back. Right now I am thinking it’s going to be awhile until I commit, but it just depends on what’s best for me, and my family. I’ve been to Arizona, SC is in my backyard and so is UCLA, so I really don’t need to go to those places again. I really want to take visits to Kansas and Gonzaga.”
Assuming he recovers fully, it would be a shock to see any coach involved with his recruitment let off the pedal and let this unique and talented guard go to another school uncontested.
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