West Char­lotte star Wil­liams climb­ing re­cruit­ing rank­ings

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Preps - BY LANGSTON WERTZ JR. lw­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com can

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.”

Char­lotte

West Char­lotte High’s Pa­trick Wil­liams, a Florida State re­cruit, plans a big se­nior sea­son

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