The Stanford basketball program has just landed the prize of their 2020 recruiting class as No. 1 ranked small forward Ziaire Williams has officially committed to the school.
Williams was the No. 1 ranked small forward and No. 5 ranked recruit in the entire country, per 247sports. He becomes the highest-ranked recruit to commit to Stanford in the modern recruiting era and the program’s first five-star recruit since Reid Travis in 2014.
And despite interest from some of the top programs in college basketball, Williams decided to sign with the Cardinal.
Stanford’s interest in Williams dates all the way back to 2017 when he first visited their campus, and they’ve remained near the top of the young wing’s list since then.
Just this past fall, it seemed as though the two favorites to land Williams were Arizona or USC given his preference to stay on the West Coast. But Stanford remained persistent and emerged as the favorite in recent weeks.
And now, they’ve landed one of their best recruits in program history.
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Williams made a name for himself playing alongside Bronny James (LeBron James‘ son) at Sierra Canyon High School in the Chatsworth neighborhood of Los Angeles last season.
A member of the 2020 McDonald’s All-American Team, Williams stands at 6-foot-8 and weighs 180 pounds with plenty of room to continue growing into his body in college. However, Stanford fans shouldn’t expect him to be there for long.
Williams is already considered to be one of the top prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft and it’s very likely that he’ll be one-and-done at Stanford. Still, that doesn’t take away from the magnitude of this announcement.
The 18-year-old is an athletic, offensively-gifted wing who can both shoot proficiently from the outside and drive to the hoop. On top of that, he’s a talented passer who excels as a playmaker on the offensive end of the floor.
"“Significant physical upside with plenty of room to gain strength. Athletic wing with good size and decent length. Easily should be able to play both big three and small-ball four at college level. Smooth stroke with ability to hit threes off the catch and pull. More of a one- and two-dribble pull-up shooter than slasher, but has quick first step and good touch around basket. Has multi-positional defensive upside. Adding strength and improving ball skills/aggressiveness will take game to the next level. Easy high major talent with significant NBA upside.”"
With the Stanford basketball team set to return essentially all of their rotation from last season, the Cardinal could be primed for a run not only at an NCAA Tournament bid, but a chance at the Pac-12 title.
They could still be losing point guard Tyrell Terry who declared for the draft earlier this month, but he still has time to withdraw his name if he chooses to do so. If he does, this Stanford team could be one of the best in recent memory.
Williams promises to provide some star-power to the program and Stanford fans should be extremely excited to see what he could bring to the team next season.
While their 2019-20 season may have been ended prematurely and rather unceremoniously, the future undoubtedly looks bright for Stanford basketball.