- Adam Finkelstein
ESPN 100 SG Kenny Williams made a verbal commitment to VCU on Tuesday, giving coach Shaka Smart his first verbal commitment in the 2015 class. Williams -- the No. 82 player in our rankings -- was one of the breakout performers of the recent grassroots season, taking his recruitment to the very highest levels before trimming his list to Virginia Tech, VCU, Georgetown, North Carolina, Indiana, Oklahoma State and Providence earlier this month.
Why he committed: A local product (the No. 2 player in the state), Williams has been on VCU’s campus several times during the course of his high school career, most recently two weeks ago. He took subsequent visits to North Carolina and Georgetown last week before ultimately announcing his decision via Twitter.
“It just felt like it was the right thing to do, the situation couldn’t get any better than VCU,” Williams told ESPN.com, also noting that location and the opportunity for his family to see him play played a major role in his decision.
What he brings: Williams is an outstanding 3-point shooter who knocked down 46 percent of his attempts from behind the arc during the recent EYBL regular season, distinguishing himself as one of the best long-range shooters in the league. Because he’s such a good shooter, it’s typical for the rest of his offensive game to go relatively unnoticed, but Williams is actually a fairly versatile scorer. He has a high release on his jumper, off both the catch and the dribble, so he’s just as dangerous with his pull-up game as he is from 3. He also has a quick first step which, in conjunction with the threat of his jumper, allows him to consistently create his own shot and become a true three-range scoring threat. Physically, he has long arms, quick feet and solid athleticism, so he possesses the tools to be a good defender as well.
How he fits: Perimeter shooting was one of VCU’s biggest priorities in this recruiting class and there wasn’t a guy on their board better suited to make a more immediate impact in that area than Williams. He’ll come in and play from day one, likely as an offensive spark plug off the bench, and should be poised to join the starting lineup as a sophomore following Melvin Johnson’s graduation.
How the class is shaping up: While Williams is the first player to commit to VCU in the 2015 class, this is now the fourth straight commitment VCU has landed from an ESPN 100 prospect, dating to a 2014 class that was arguably the best in program history. The fact the Rams were able to successfully go head to head with top national programs like North Carolina, Georgetown and Indiana only adds to the growing value of their brand on the recruiting front. With a pair of scholarships remaining, the Rams aren’t tied to any particular positions but would like to add more size and perimeter skill with Levan Alston, Tevin Mack, Markis McDuffie, Ernest Aflakpui, and Steve Enoch being some of the more notable targets.
Who he reminds us of: Rams’ fans might notice some similarities between Williams and current Houston Rockets guard Troy Daniels, who set a VCU record for most 3-pointers in a season during his 2012-2013 campaign. Williams will fill a similar role to the one Daniels had and get plenty of looks within the team’s system. Nevertheless he probably has more sheer talent than Daniels did at this point and will be able to score the ball earlier in his career and in more versatile ways.