With the Class of 2017 becoming finalized for Penn basketball, it is time to begin looking towards the next set of recruits. On May 3, Penn hosted Chaminade (Calif.) High School rising senior Jack Williams as they try to convince him to join the Quakers’ class of ’18. Williams, a power forward, has been raved about for his post game, specifically his rebounding numbers. This past season for Chaminade, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 16.4 points and 16.4 rebounds a game, leading his region in boards by a large margin.
This past weekend, the Daily Pennsylvanian had the chance to talk to Williams about his visit to Penn, his place in the recruiting process and his thoughts about his playing ability on the court.
Daily Pennsylvanian: You had your visit to Penn on May 3. How was the visit? What did you do during the visit and what stood out to you about Penn?
Jack Williams: The visit was really good. I got there and I worked out with Fran [Dougherty] in the gym the first day that I was there.
The next day, I met up with all the coaches and we had breakfast. We took a tour of the campus. We went to the main part of campus – I saw a couple libraries. I went through Wharton and then we had lunch. And then we went around a little more – I got to see the Quad. And then I went and worked out with the guys and played with them in the gym. I hung out with them at night. I hung out with Camryn [Crocker] and Henry [Brooks] and Miles [Cartwright]. They were all really cool and I liked them a lot. I know Julian [Harrell] from where I live – he lives near me so I have known him.
The next day, we met up again and we had a couple meetings. We went to eat at some places that were a little far from where campus is, so we drove a little bit. Then I saw campus a little bit and went to gym and worked out. And then I left the next day on Sunday [May 5] morning.
DP: With your interaction with different players like Fran Dougherty and Miles Cartwright, what kind of advice did they give you about visiting Penn?
JW: They just told me to make the right decision and that Penn is a great place to be. The player who I hung out with the most was Camryn Crocker. I was in his dorm room at night and he was always wherever I was so I would say I bonded with him the best. He just told me to make the best decision for me and that Penn is such a great place and they would love to have me here.
DP: What is your relationship with the coaching staff and in particular, Jerome Allen and Scott Pera?
JW: Coach Allen and I met about four months ago. I didn’t know him before but I have a good relationship with him. From everything he’s told me, he’s one of the best coaches and people I’ve ever seen. I like him and really respect him a lot.
Coach Pera, I’ve known for about a year and a half. He was recruiting me when he was at Arizona State and then he left to go to Penn. Ever since he left, we have always been talking – I think I have talked to him every day. And it’s not like he is a coach – he is a friend who I talk to. I have good relationships with both of them so I have talked with them quite a bit.
DP: Did Penn’s coaching staff tell you anything about how they thought you would fit in their system?
JW: Coach Pera said I would be a great addition to the team. He thinks I would love it and I would help them out a lot and that if I came there, I could hopefully help them make the tournament. If I were to come, that would be the goal every year – to win the Ivy League and make the tournament.
DP: You go to school in California. Do you have any apprehension about going to a school on the east coast?
JW: I would say that I don’t. My mom and my dad might with not having me around. I’ll be fine on my own but I would say that if a school is the right fit, it wouldn’t be a problem. I still have to go over my options and I’ll probably know in October or November.
DP: Do you have any connection to the Philadelphia area, whether it is with family or friends?
JW: I have a connection to New Jersey but not really to Philly.
DP: On the court, you are known for your rebounding ability and post game but how exactly would you describe yourself as a player?
JW: I would say that I have a good motor. I won’t let people outwork me. I would say that I am a good rebounder. I play in my league and it is one of the best leagues in California and I led the league in rebounds by four or five rebounds.
Right now, I’d say I’m working on expanding my range so I feel comfortable hitting the three because I have worked on it so much. I have a good midrange game – I have a good 15 footer. Right now, I am working on my ball handling so I can become sort of like a guard and get rebounds and just push up the floor.
I would say I am a leader too. I like to be vocal. With practices, you will always see me – I try to coach all of the other players, especially the younger players. They make more mistakes because they are younger and inexperienced. I like to help make them better. I would say that all-around, I am a leader and vocal. I work very hard and doing anything to win.
DP: What can you tell me about your junior season at Chaminade and what things you are looking to improve heading into your senior year?
JW: I think we went something like 27-8. We lost in the CIF finals – the regional state final – and that’s obviously not what we planned on. We had a pretty good year. We went through a little bit of a slump halfway through the year where we weren’t playing as we expected and lost two games in a row. We turned it around and we didn’t lose for about a month and a half straight. It was a great year and we have some good people on our team. We have some great juniors on our team right now, some great sophomores, and, in particular, some really good freshman, one of the most highly recruited right now. I don’t think we should lose very often [next year] in my eyes. This next year will probably be one of the best years ever I’d say at Chaminade.