Simeon's Williams continues development
Highlight videos can hype up a recruit like no other.
A good mixtape, set to catchy background music, can elevate a recruit in people's minds.
That's not always a good thing, though.
"The problem with the recruitments and the expectations now on prospects is unlike at any other time because of the access people have to video highlights," said Joe Henricksen, publisher of the City/Suburban Hoops Report. "I actually think the video highlights on the Internet are one of the more damaging things that have happened because it's not a true reflection. People go to gyms now expecting certain things from these kids on a regular basis, and it's just not realistic."
Case in point: Illinois commit D.J. Williams.
The Class of 2015 prospect from Chicago Simeon is a budding wing player for the Wolverines.
But one who is in his first season starting for the four-time defending state champion.
So he'll have games where he shines, like he did in Simeon's season-opening win against Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton High School at the Chicago Elite Classic.
And games where he doesn't particularly stand out, like he did at times during the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, where he averaged 7.2 points during his four games and was held scoreless in one.
"D.J. had some ups and downs (at Pontiac)," Henricksen said. "That's what it's going to be like for him as he progresses throughout his career. He is going to be a late-bloomer. He is about projection. He had some inconsistent play at Pontiac, but again, he showed you some of the flashes that made him a high-level recruit and target for Illinois."
The pros outweigh the cons when it comes to Williams, who committed to Illinois before he started a game for the Wolverines.
Of course, having Division I talent like Jabari Parker (Duke), Kendrick Nunn (Illinois), Jaylon Tate (Illinois) and Kendall Pollard (Dayton) starting last year for the Wolverines, it was hard for a sophomore to crack that lineup.
But he showed flashes in his brief playing time last winter, along with a steady performance on the AAU circuit since then, to receive interest from several high-major schools before picking Illinois.
"His versatility is what really grabs your attention," Henricksen said. "He can slice to the basket. He can knock down a three. He can handle the ball. He's an underrated passer, but his development is still very much on-going. He is not a player that, right now, is ready to go in and dominate on a regular basis. It's just not there yet, but it will be. People have got to be patient with him."
Williams' mixtape of highlights is an ongoing process.
One that will be until he arrives at Illinois for the 2015-16 season.
But one, Henricksen emphasizes, will be worth the wait.
"I just hope as Illinois fans go and watch D.J. Williams, that they're patient, and they let his development continue," he said. "A lot of people, when they'd go and watch Brian Cook (in high school), his development was slower. You could catch Brian Cook on a certain night, and he didn't jump out at you. Over time, and you saw it in college, you have to give certain players more time, and I really do believe D.J. Williams is one of those players."