Shaka Smart and the VCU coaching staff received tremendous news in the form of a commitment from ESPN100 (#82 overall), Scout 4-star (#32 SG), and Rivals150 (#124) 6’4″ SG Kenny Williams. The local Richmonder from L.C. Bird H.S. and Boo Williams AAU picked the Rams over offers from Roy Williams and North Carolina, Indiana, and Georgetown among others. Williams cut his list to a final 7 of Georgetown, Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Providence, VCU, and Virginia Tech, all of whom tendered scholarship offers. While many national pundits had Kenny Williams as a lock for North Carolina once Roy Williams offered, it ultimately came down to the fact that Kenny Williams wanted to be at VCU under a rising national star in Shaka Smart. The desire to stay close to home and have his family be able to watch him play regularly was also a factor in his decision. Kenny will be the next in a long line of great Richmond-area players to stay at home and star at VCU.
Kenny Williams is a dead-eye shooter who happens to fill a skill need that VCU’s coaching staff had prioritized during the 2015 recruiting cycle process. Kenny averaged 21.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg as a H.S. Jr. for H.S. coach Troy Manns while leading the Skyhawks to a 19-5 record. He was subsequently named to the Virginia 5A All-State 1st team. His recruitment really blew up on the AAU circuit where he shot 62% on three-pointers on the opening April weekend of the EYBL season with Boo Williams AAU. He ended up finishing 47% from 3-point land for the entire EYBL regular season and cemented himself as one of the best shooters in the 2015 class. AAU coach Boo Williams had extremely high praise for Kenny in an interview with UNC’s Scout site after Roy Williams tendered a scholarship offer a couple of weeks ago:
“He’s a great three-point shooter and he can put the ball on the floor,” Boo Williams said.
“J.J. Redick is the only person (I’ve had) that shoots it better than Kenny. Carolina fans don’t want to hear that. He’s not at the same level as J.J., but the next level below it.
“He’s a great kid, great on and off the court. He would represent the University well.”
What is really special about Williams’ as a player is that he has rapidly developed his ball skills to the point where he’s able to slide over to the PG spot if needed which gives VCU great flexibility with lineups. Williams has shown great decision-making ability and is increasingly adept at high ball screen reads. With his smooth jumper and tremendous ability to move without the ball, he could potentially be a terror in Shaka Smart’s ball screen-heavy offense. Smooth outside shooting has been an Achilles heel of sorts for VCU in recent years after the graduation of current Houston Rockets’ SG Troy Daniels, but the addition of Williams is a great first step towards addressing that need. Check out some highlights of Williams’ skill set on the EYBL circuit with Boo Williams and at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville here:
Kenny Williams choosing to stay home at VCU over blue-blood options sends a strong message to Richmond-area basketball players that VCU is a very viable option for players seeking to play at the highest level. Shaka Smart is building something special at VCU and local players like Jordan Burgess, Jonathan Williams, and now Kenny Williams are buying in.
Shaka Smart said this in his introductory press conference at VCU in the Spring of 2009, but he might as well be saying it right now with today’s events:
“I want to make a statement right now to any of the players in the city of Richmond that might be listening or might be watching this. Because trust me, there are a few guys right now in this city that could come to VCU and do great things. Myself and my staff, we are coming to recruit you and we’re coming to show you how terrific of an experience you can have at VCU, and I can’t wait to go see you.”
Richmond-area H.S. stars, consider yourselves put on notice.
With Kenny Williams in the fold as the first member of Shaka Smart’s 2015 class at VCU, there are 2 more scholarships available. The coaching staff will continue to pursue high-level targets such as Tevin Mack, Markis McDuffie, Levan Alston, Malik Beasley, Marquez Letcher-Ellis, Rayjon Tucker, Ty Hudson, Aric Holman, and Keith Stone, among others. Several of these players will visit VCU in the weeks and months ahead. The train is rolling at VCU and shows no signs of stopping. Ram fans, join us in welcoming Kenny Williams to VCU Ram Nation!
LET’S GO VCU!