West Charlotte star Williams climbing recruiting rankings
West Charlotte High boys’ basketball standout Patrick Williams is ranked the No. 34 college prospect nationally by ESPN, No. 38 by rivals.com and No. 40 by 247sports.com
Still, coach Jacoby Davis believes college scouts and recruiting experts are only beginning to appreciate Williams’ talents. And Davis understands why.
“One thing we’ve always told him,” Davis said, “is that he’s the type of kid who is so skilled that he can get baskets whenever he wants, but it’s up to him to turn the light on and really get going. I mean, we know how good he is and how good he be, so even though he’s a top 30 kid, I think he’s one of the most underrated kids in the country.”
That’s beginning to change. As West Charlotte gets set to tip off a season that has the Lions among the favorites to win a N.C. 4A championship, Williams is the centerpiece of an experienced team.
A 6-foot-8 Florida State recruit, Williams also is beginning to explore the upper limits of his talents.
It started in the final game last season, a 74-66 second-round N.C. 4A playoff loss to eventual state champion Independence. Williams scored 32 points and had 11 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. The performance dwarfed his season averages of 21 points and eight rebounds.
Davis said Williams was all over the court, dominating from the perimeter, where he made three of six 3-point shots, but he also used ball-handing skills to slash to the basket and his size to block shots.
“Patrick is really one of those new-age players,” Davis said, “very skilled, great basketball IQ and great body. He’s like those guys you see in the NBA, how they play four or five guards out there who are all long, who all can run, jump, shoot and score.”
Williams displayed his diverse game during the summer on the Nike EYBL summer circuit, when he averaged 13 points and 5.3 rebounds against some of the country’s best 17-andunder competition.
Williams climbed more than 40 spots on national ranking boards. N.C. recruiting analyst Rick Lewis ranks Williams No. 2 in North Carolina behind Duke recruit Wendell Moore of Concord’s Cox Mill. In the long run, Lewis says Williams might even be more special than Moore, a consensus top-25 recruit.
“Patrick can do so many things,” Lewis said. “I think when it’s all said and done, he could be a (NBA) lottery pick. He’s the prototypical player for today’s game: long, rangy, with the ability to dribble and shoot it.”
Williams calls himself a “combo guard,” basketball lingo for a player who can play point guard and handle the ball or play shooting guard. His unique size and skill set attracted more than 30 college offers from elite schools like Arizona, Louisville, Ohio State and Texas. And as his recruitment increased during his breakout spring and summer, so did the amount of phone calls from college coaches.
“Man,” he said, “my phone was ringing a lot more. It’s a lot more talking than I’m used to. I could be in class and somebody calls. I don’t pick up and then they text me. It’s a different culture. It’s a lot.”
Williams’ mother has run Williams Florist for more than a decade. Beginning in eighth grade, Williams would deliver flowers with his brother after school. He still does it. He said it keeps him grounded, to understand planning and responsibility.
That led him to plan out his recruitment, to find a college coach with experience with fast-developing players like him, and someone at a quality academic school. He believes he found him in Gastonia native Leonard Hamilton and Florida State. Some of the Seminoles’ recruiting experts compare Williams to former Seminoles star Dwayne Bacon, now playing with the Hornets.
But before he goes to Tallahassee, Williams said he has one more responsibility to fulfill in high school.
“The goal is a state championship, of course,” he said. “West Charlotte needs that. It deserves that. My last year, I’ve got to go out with a bang. And we’ve got the right pieces to do it this year. It just seems like everything is set up for us. I just can’t wait to get started.”
West Charlotte High’s Patrick Williams, a Florida State recruit, plans a big senior season