PEORIA – The moment Illinois basketball fans have all been waiting for has finally arrived – just like Sergio McClain said it would.
Eleven months after McClain said yes to the UI, his Peoria Manual partner in state championships did the same.
Frank Williams will put it in writing on Nov. 12.
"I don't think there was ever any doubt that he was coming to Illinois," Manual coach Wayne McClain said this morning.
"He had a number of major schools that were calling me all the time. He just wasn't showing any interest. He only had one visit scheduled."
Williams took it this weekend, watching freshman guard Sergio McClain and the Illini's first fall practices Saturday.
His mom, the McClains and former Manual teammate Marcus Griffin all joined him in the Assembly Hall stands.
Before his visit, the 6-foot-4 point guard was unsure whether he'd commit before the high school basketball season.
"He had a great weekend with Serg and Marcus," Wayne McClain said. "Those guys have a bond that's second to none. Just being on that campus, being around each other, I think that sealed it."
He's the fourth prospect, and the first guard, to orally commit to UI coach Lon Kruger this fall, doing so before he left for Peoria on Sunday.
He's also the first News-Gazette All-Stater. Another one, Oak Park Fenwick's Corey Maggette, is due on campus for an official visit this weekend. Illinois is also still in the hunt for Chicago Simeon's Bobby Simmons, who probably won't make up his mind until spring.
If you believe recruiting gurus, Williams could be Kruger's biggest Illinois catch yet. He's among the most highly touted prospects ever to commit to the UI, drawing top national rankings by analysts Stephen D. Wacaser (eighth) and Van Coleman (11th).
A '90s Isiah Thomas, Quincy coach Loren Wallace says.
"I think he's the prototype point guard," Wayne McClain said. "You don't have any 6-4 point guards in America that can handle the ball the way he can. And he plays big. He dunks easy, he can pass, he can dribble, he can rebound.
"I don't think that there's anybody else in the state who can give you the total package, along with being able to guard you, like Frank Williams can."
As a junior, Williams averaged around 15 points, 12 assists and five rebounds.
"And three or four steals," Wayne McClain said. "He has great hands, great anticipation for the game."
With this out of the way, Williams' quest to win a fourth Class AA state title should be easier. He's been a part of IHSA basketball history the last three years, helping the Rams win an unprecedented fourth straight championship last winter.
"He had so many people tugging at him in different directions, so many schools that wanted his services," Wayne McClain said. "Now that everyone knows he's committed, he can totally concentrate on his academics."