NCB On The Trail: Jonathan Williams

Playing the comparison game 

February, 20, 2014
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It's a constant topic of conversation: Which player does this prospect remind us of?

Well, given that the current college basketball season has been dominated by freshmen, we took a look at Jeff Goodman’s latest ranking of college freshmen and played the comparison game.

Duke’s Jabari Parker reminds us of Duke signee Jahlil Okafor.
Although they obviously don’t play the same position or have the same style, the similarities are there, and not just the superficial ones such as their hometown of Chicago or college destination. Although Parker does his work primarily from the perimeter and Okafor on the block, Okafor has that same level of maturity that will allow him to adjust to offensive structure just as quickly as Parker has. Furthermore, Okafor likely will take over for Parker and become the immediate focal point of the way Duke plays in the half court. The Blue Devils have tailored what they do offensively to Parker this season, and they’re likely to do the same for Okafor next season.

Smart, VCU sign four players

November, 15, 2013
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Two ESPN 100 prospects highlight VCU’s 2014 recruiting class which was announced on Thursday.

Head coach Shaka Smart and his staff received letters of intent from ESPN 100 SF Terry Larrier (Bronx, N.Y./The Phelps School) and ESPN 100 PF Mike Gilmore (Tallahassee, Fla./Rickards) along with four-star PG Jonathan Williams (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's) and three-star PF Justin Tillman (Redford, Mich./Pershing).

“We're very excited about this group because all four young men possess the talent, drive and work ethic to be outstanding members of our team," Smart said. "It's a class that can contribute to a great deal of winning at VCU."

Top five undervalued classes 

September, 19, 2013
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Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings landed a commitment from his second four-star prospect in as many weeks over the weekend when Matthew Fisher-Davis (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) joined Wade Baldwin (Hillsborough, N.J./St. Joseph).

With a pair of four-star prospects now on board in mid-September, Stallings’ class is considered good, but not great, by most national standards.

But the reality is that each school comes into the summer with different needs and priorities, and ultimately those objectives are tied to winning basketball games, not class rankings. Coaches consider fit, style, personnel, and a variety of other variables.

For Vanderbilt, that means looking for high-character guys who fit their system and culture. Given that approach, the Commodores are one of five schools off that couldn't hope to be off to a better start.


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ESPN 100 SF Larrier commits to VCU 

September, 16, 2013
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ESPN 100 SF Terry Larrier (Bronx, N.Y./Phelps School) made a verbal commitment to VCU on Monday night following his official visit this weekend. Larrier, ranked No. 59 overall and No. 15 among small forwards, was widely expected to choose between VCU and Connecticut, but was also considering Florida, Florida State, and Miami among others.

The commitment punctuates what was a breakout season on the spring and summer travel circuits, as Larrier came into his AAU season without a single high-major offer but ultimately wound up with his choice of BCS suitors after a strong showing with Team Scan on the EYBL circuit.


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Big-name stars bow out early at adidas 

July, 15, 2013
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video Editor's note: This is the latest entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave will check in each day he's on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country. He'll let you know where he is, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Like Brad Stevens from Butler, I’m out. Well, at least for a few days.

This blog has been rocking on the road since July 6 and it’s time to shut it down for a few days while I head home to rest up for the next leg of the road trip. We started in Las Vegas and spent time at the LeBron James Skills Academy, then shuttled down to South Carolina for the Nike Peach Jam before finishing up in Indianapolis at the adidas Invitational this past weekend.

So this is the final installment of the July Road Trip blog until Friday, after we go live from the Best of the South in Suwannee, Ga., starting on Thursday.

For the championship of the adidas Invitational on Sunday, we had several surprises.

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There are always tough omissions when compiling any list, and more so when it’s a list of the top hoops prospects in the country. Our staff agonized over several players in deliberations for the Class of 2014’s ESPN 100 rankings, which we released today, and several quality players just fell short of making the list. Here’s a look at 12 fringe top 100 guys, keeping in mind some of them may eventually sneak in the next edition of the rankings or at some point before the end of their senior year.

Note: Schools involved is a combination of programs that have offered and others with interest in that particular recruit.

Tre Campbell (D.C./St. John’s College)
PG, 6-2, 160
Committed to Georgetown

Dishing out assists is this future Hoya's calling card. He is stellar at penetrating and kicking, attacking defenders in transition and knowing when to call his own number in the half-court set.

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VCU gets first 2014 commitment 

March, 2, 2013
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According to multiple sources, junior point guard Jonathan Williams (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's Prep) verbally committed to Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday.

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Michigan point guard Jonathan Williams (Southfield, Mich./Lathrup) became the third player to commit to Toledo over the weekend, sources have confirmed.

Williams joins PF Zach Garber (Vanlue, Ohio/Vanlue) and SG Jordan Lauf (Napoleon, Ohio/Napoleon) who made their choices on Saturday.

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