Earlier this month, Sidwell Friends point guard Jelani Williams announced his commitment to Penn as part of the Class of 2021. The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with Williams on his decision.
Daily Pennsylvanian: You recently committed to Penn. Who else did you consider in the recruiting process?
Jelani Williams: When I made my decision I had about 15 offers. I had narrowed my list down to seven schools and was considering Penn, Princeton, Rice, Delaware, Pepperdine, Temple and GW.
DP: Were there any other top basketball programs that took a look at you that you had narrowed out earlier in your process?
Williams: Northwestern, Georgetown and Maryland.
DP: When did you decide you were going to go with Penn?
Williams: I visited a couple weekends ago, and made the decision when I got home, I talked to my family and my high school coach and called coach Donahue that night and let him know I wanted to go there.
DP: As a basketball player, what are your main strengths?
Williams: I’m a big point guard, I can see over the floor. I’m pretty athletic, I can shoot it. But I think probably my leadership and being able to create for others is probably my biggest strength.
DP: And what are some things you want to work on when you get to Penn?
Williams: Mostly my explosiveness, like around the rim, being able to jump faster so that I can explode over people. And extending my range so I become more of a threat from deeper.
DP: How many unread emails do you have in your inbox right now?
Williams: *laughs* unread emails — right now ... on my school email or my personal email? On my school email I have 45 unreads. On my GMail that has a bunch of spam I have 28 thousand emails.
DP: What’s your team in 2K?
Williams: My favorite team to use in 2K is Portland.
DP: So you went to Sidwell, did you ever hang out with the Obamas?
Williams: Yeah, they’re really cool. Malia just graduated and she’s going to Harvard next year. They’re both real cool.
DP: Can you dunk? When was the first time you dunked?
Williams: Yeah. I think the first dunk I had was freshman year, midseason was probably my first dunk.
DP: If you were in a dunk contest, what’s the best dunk you think you could probably pull off?
Williams: I can windmill. But that’s, like, inconsistent. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m consistently doing it. I wouldn’t try it in a game.
DP: What’s something you want people to know about you?
Williams: Great personality, ready to contribute for four years, ready to bring a lot of wins to Penn basketball.
DP: What’s something you want people to know about you that has nothing to do with being a basketball player?
Williams: I love music. Music has been, especially hip-hop, music has been like my life pretty much outside of basketball, outside of hanging out with friends and stuff. Music is probably one of my favorite things.
DP: Do you have any certain artists you listen to before a game or when you’re working out?
Williams: Before a game, when I’m working out, maybe Future. But I’d say my favorite artist right now is probably J Cole?
DP: Biggest question: Can you understand Future?
Williams: Um, uh, yeah. Not, everything. Most of it.
DP: What are some players you’ve tried to model parts of your game after?
Williams: The player I get compared to the most and that I probably play the most like is Michael Carter-Williams.
DP: Thoughts on Deflate-gate?
Williams: I’m not a big Tom Brady fan so I’m glad — I’m a little upset that he got off like he got off, though.
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