Illinois is going to be ready compete in the Big Ten next season and 4-star small forward D.J. Williams is going to be a big reason why.
Williams is from Chicago and he is local recruit that signed his LOI on Nov. 4, 2013. Some other schools that were on his list included DePaul, Florida, and SMU. Williams was also looking at Michigan State and Nebraska, but Illinois ended up being the right Big Ten fit for Williams.
Coach Groce is bringing in a very talented 2015 recruiting class for Illinois. The team will welcome Williams, 4-star shooting guard Jalen Coleman and another 4-star shooting guard in Aaron Jordan. Those three talented incoming recruits should give Illinois a chance to compete with some of the top teams in the Big Ten, and Williams might be the recruit with the most upside.
Williams recruiting breakdown for Illinois
Williams is going to come in for his freshmen season as a 6-foot-7 small forward that will immediately contribute for the Fighting Illini. He is athletic, but he is not going to wow opponents with his athleticism. He is a very smart basketball player and he has great shot selection. He seems to know what his limits are as a small forward, but he can improve in some areas. He is not a great three-point shooter but he does have range; Williams has an impressive mid-range shooting game, but his ability to lead the break in transition might be his best trait.
Now that Rayvonte Rice will be gone from Illinois, coach Groce will call upon Williams to pick up some of the scoring load for the Fighting Illini. Scoring should not be a problem for Williams, especially due to to his great size and length for the small forward position, but Williams will have to improve his on-ball defense. If Williams wants to be elite on both ends of the floor during his freshman season at Illinois, he will have to become a better rebounder. He can become a better rebounder if he gains a little more upper-body strength in the weight room, which is defiantly a feasible task.
What is in the fold for Illinois this season?
Illinois is welcoming back many key returners, but they have lost Rice, Nnanna Egwu, Ahmad Stark, and Aaron Cosby, who has transferred to Western Kentucky. Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn are returning to lead the Fighting Illini, but the team will need the help of their three talented freshmen if they want to make a push for the NCAA tournament. Williams might not immediately start for Illinois at the small forward position, but he will able to contribute right away and make some noise off the bench. He could play the small forward and some power forward once he gets a little stronger. Jordan and Coleman will also probably come off the bench, but this could all change once Coleman and Jordan get adjusted to the college game and coach Groce's system.
The bottom-line is simple; the Fighting Illini are going to have depth this season, and Coach Groce will have a tough time finding out which lineup is the strongest. This problem is certainly not a bad problem to have on your hands.