Illini target Williams eager for next shot

Illini target Williams eager for next shot

WESTFIELD, Ind. — The opening session of Nike EYBL action can deliver an increase in recruiting attention for players that elevate their game among some of the top prospects in the country.

Like Jaylin Williams did in Atlanta at the end of April.

The Class of 2020 prospect put up a double-double in three of four games for Woodz Elite that first weekend. That included what turned out to be his breakout performance with 17 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and two assists in a blowout win against UPlay Canada.

Illinois first reached out to Williams the first week of May. An offer followed this past Friday night after the 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward posted another double-double to start Woodz Elite's 4-0 weekend at the Pacers Athletic Center.

"They said they like how I can expand the floor," Williams said was part of the feedback he got from the Illinois coaching staff. "They have a big man that kind of plays how I play (sophomore Giorgi Bezhanishvili) where he can set the screen and pop out and hit that jump shot or roll and finish down low."

Williams holds other offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Lamarr, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian and Tulsa. He said both Iowa and Iowa State have started showing interest. The Fort Smith, Ark., native is ranked as a four-star recruit and No. 100 nationally by Rivals.

Williams had another three double-doubles during four games in the north Indianapolis suburbs. He put up 16 points, 12 rebounds and two steals in a win against E1T1 United and simply maintained his consistent play on the EYBL circuit. Williams has only missed double-digit points once (the opener in Atlanta) and double-digit rebounds once (the finale in Westfield).

"I just try to do as much as I can on the court," Williams said. "If I need to get 15 rebounds one night and maybe just five points, then that's what I'm going to do. Whatever I have to do to help my team win, that's what I'm focused on."

Williams is averaging 13 points and 10.9 rebounds through eight games this spring. He ranks third on the circuit in rebounding behind Expressions Elite's Moussa Cisse (11.2 rpg) and Seattle Rotary's Paolo Banchero (11 rpg) and hauls them in at both ends, averaging 3.4 offensive rebounds per game.

"My pursuit of the ball," Williams said about makes him a good rebounder. "I'm good at telling where the ball is going to go when it comes off the rim."

Williams said his dad, Michael, has influenced his basketball career the most. Including rebounding.

"He stresses everything," Williams said.

Williams wants to stress his versatility later this month in the final regular season session May 24-26 in Dallas. He'll likely get another shot to do so at Peach Jam from July 10-14 with Woodz Elite boasting a 7-1 record.

"I've been trying to show I can expand the floor and hit that deep three," Williams said. He's shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc on limited attempts. "I think I need to show I can get the ball off the rebound and go up the court and be able to make decisions and passes and create for my teammates."