2015 guard Kenny Williams sees explosion in his recruitment

  • 05/06/2014 11:10 am in

Playing in front of dozens of college coaches thousands of miles from home just two weekends ago at the Nike EYBL Session 1 in Sacramento, California, Kenny Williams — a Chesterfield, Virginia, native — knew he had to do just one thing.

“Play confidently,” he told Inside the Hall on Monday evening.

A 6-foot-4 guard in the 2015 class, Williams did just that in Sacramento by averaging 16.8 points in four games while going 16-for-26 from beyond the arc for Boo Williams. Plenty of colleges took notice of his performance, too — including Indiana, North Carolina, Wichita State, Memphis, Cincinnati and Virginia Tech, to name a few.

But Williams, a friend of class of 2014 IU signee Robert Johnson, is careful not to define himself as a shooter. Originally a shooting guard, Williams said he is in the process of becoming more of a combo guard in hopes of diversifying his game. He said he has been working on ball-handling drills and hopes to showcase more of his improved combo-guard capabilities during his senior season at L.C. Bird (Virginia) High School this upcoming fall.

“A lot of people label me as a shooter, but I don’t like to put one label on it,” said Williams, who averaged 21.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in his junior year at L.C. Bird. “I’m willing to do whatever to win, whether it’s taking charges or diving for loose balls.”

What Williams does not deny, though, is that shooting is one of his particular strengths. “Especially the one-dribble pull up,” he said. Before the start of EYBL play in Sacramento, he had offers from George Mason, Old Dominion, VCU and Robert Morris, among others.

On the national stage, though, as Williams tried to not make it a distraction, plenty of college coaches watched.

Since leaving Sacramento, Williams said he has fielded new offers from Minnesota, Memphis, Richmond, Cincinnati and the new coaching staff at Virginia Tech. Marquette also has demonstrated interest.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It definitely showed my hard work is paying off.”

While Williams was on his way back to Virginia on the evening of the April 27, just hours after his final game, he got a phone call from Indiana coach Tom Crean expressing interest. Since then, Williams has exchanged text messages with Crean and associate head coach Tim Buckley.

And though he doesn’t “really don’t know much” about the Hoosiers, “just the fact that (Crean) texts me on a normal basis let’s me know he’s serious.”

Williams said he has not yet scheduled any visits, but that he will sit down and talk with his father soon and go from there.

As for what he is looking for in a college, though, Williams said it comes down to two main variables.

“I just want to make sure the coaching staff has a great relationship with me and my parents,” he said. “I want to make sure they’re comfortable wherever they send me.

“And I want to get out and run because that makes the game more fun to play and it makes it better to watch for fans.”

(Photo credit: Joe Mahoney, Times-Dispatch)

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  • Alford Bailey

    Nice stroke with some hops. Shoot him an offer.

  • CreamandCrimson

    In theory (I understand that transfers and other factors could change things significantly), there won’t be more than a couple of scholarships available for the 2015 class. I would think Kenny Williams would be behind Yogi Ferrell (albeit, only for a year), Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr. and Stanford Robinson. I’m not sure there’s much playing time for him (which means I’m not sure where the appeal would be for him). We know we definitely need a big man in this class and unless Robert Johnson proves capable of being a point guard on a full-time basis, I think point guard would be a priority as well.

    There’s a ton of time to go and a lot of twists and turns to play out but right now, I don’t really see where Kenny Williams would fit in on the roster.

  • MillaRed


  • SCHoosier

    Looks like its all good for this young man. Playing time..the most and where?

  • ForeverIU

    Looks like we have three outstanding offers to PGs/SGs: Briscoe, Coleman, and Dozier. 247 has Coleman and Dozier warm with us, and Briscoe warm with Louisville (thanks Big Kenny). Is Kenny Williams ranked anywhere? Not that it matters to us, lol. But if he has anything of RJ’s attitude, I’d offer him.

  • Alford Bailey

    I tend to agree with your thinking but with the way things seem to change so quickly anymore I don’t think you can pencil in a roster even a year ahead. I have become a fan of the mass offers way of recruiting. Especially on the top recruits. If you are gonna lose 3-4 kids a year for various reasons might as well replace them with top talent is my thinking. So yes I’d offer Williams and see how it plays out.

  • SeeingRed

    He looks to have really nice lift off the floor — springy with a nice high release on his shot. He will probably play a couple inches taller than he actually is and be able to get his shot off against zones with some length on the perimeter. I think he looks pretty interesting, particularly if JBJ’s time in Btown is short.

  • CreamandCrimson

    “Especially the top recruits”….I agree with that but Williams doesn’t fall into that category. He’s not ranked in any listings I found and more importantly (at least in my opinion), his offers are mostly all mid-majors. That doesn’t mean he can’t turn into a really good player but as of right now, scholarships are valuable, it’s not a position of need and he’s not a top recruit.

    All that being said, if the coaching staff thinks he’s good enough to contribute here, then I’ll support, as you say, “letting it play out”.

  • At this time last year, where was Robert Johnson ranked?

  • CreamandCrimson

    I have no idea. I know he wasn’t highly regarded and since you are asking, I am guessing you are making a point and I imagine he wasn’t ranked at all.

    I’m probably being too idealistic when I think we will only have one or two scholarships available (wouldn’t it be nice to not have a bunch of guys leave and not have to overhaul) and that we should be careful about throwing offers around. Again, if the coaching staff ends up thinking he’s good enough to contribute in a crowded backcourt, great. They would know far better than I.

  • Alford Bailey

    I agree with your theory I guess I feel if NC, Memphis, Cincy, Minny, Wichita ect are offering or showing strong interest this kid is gonna move up nicely in the rankings.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m curious to know your opinion on this (just for fun, and I respect your opinions on here)…let’s pretend that the depth chart looks like this after next season:
    -Yogi (SR.), Stan (JR.), Blackmon Jr. (SOPH), Johnson (SOPH). I think we would all love our backcourt to look like this heading into 2015-2016.

    Let’s also assume one guy leaves (a wing or a forward) so we have two scholarships available. What positions/skill sets do you think we should prioritize most with those two scholarships?

  • Alford Bailey

    I see your point. That would be an awesome backcourt. Not much room for Williams that first season. Obviously we need a SKILLED big man who can get up and down the court. In Creans offense I don’t think you can have enough guards/wings who can shoot, penetrate and score and play D. Second scholly goes to a kid who has that skill set. I personally don’t care if its a guard or forward. I just want kids that can play. I’d take kids 6’3″-6’6″ who can play all day over 6’10”-7’0″ guys that sit on the bench. I’m not a fan of projects. I would have held on to Priller or Aprils scholly for 2015. As always, will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I totally agree on your stance of 6’6″ guys that can play over 6″10 guys that are only on scholarship because they are tall….we’ll see if Priller and/or April can be more than just “tall”.

    A skilled big man should be top priority, no doubt about that. I think we are going to need a legitimate point guard (unless Robert Johnson turns from combo guard into point guard) to lead things once Yogi leaves and I wouldn’t mind that coming in 2015 (Jalen Coleman). Interesting is a good word for the year-round circus that recruiting has become.

  • ForeverIU

    The thing Alford is that these penetrators will not be able to hone their skills if they’re not going against good big men in practice sessions.

  • Alford Bailey

    I’m all for good big men.

  • Alford Bailey

    I’m confident we will land a good point guard before Yogi leaves. Less confident we can land a skilled big that contributes right away. Hope I’m wrong.