Curtis Williams Jr. will play with an average streak for Louisville
Louisville Basketball received a commitment from 2023 four-star forward Curtis Williams Jr. on Monday. What Williams brings to Kenny Payne’s roster.
When it comes to Louisville’s next basketball class of 2023, one feature stands out above the rest: Grit.
Joining local standout Kaleb Glenn at Louisville in the Class of 2023 is Curtis Williams Jr., of Bloomfield, MI. Williams is ranked among the top 15 small forwards in the nation and top 80 overall, respectively. He reached No. 15 in the ESPN recruiting rankings last season.
Williams said Louisville is the team that recruited him the most and where he found he could be the most himself.
“Of everyone, Louisville has definitely been the toughest recruiting,” Williams told Zagsblog.com in July. “I know if I go there, I can just be myself. I can be Curtis. I really want to find a program where I can just be myself. Other than that, even though I don’t talk to a head coach, I talk to someone every day. We are talking about the game or the life, something like that.
Looking at the tape, it’s easy to see why Louisville basketball coach Kenny Payne loves Williams. At 6’6″ 180 lbs. Williams moves well on the court.
He brings a smooth shot from three points and attacks the lane with aggression.
But the wrinkle in his game that I find most intriguing is the tone he sets on the pitch.
Curtis Williams Jr. is a player
More often than not in recent years for Louisville basketball, teams haven’t found a way to bring the fight on.
Not that Chris Mack’s teams lacked tenacity – Mack’s calling card – it’s just that other teams seemed to throw down the gauntlet when the times came the hardest.
On tape, Williams can be seen playing with fluidity and confidence. Carve double teams, block shots, knock down triples. When respecting the skill set, I tend to look at the individual.
How does he fit in with his teammates?
What does the game look like when he enters it?
With Williams, you’ll find a kid who elevates his teammates to his level of intensity. It’s almost like the game becomes more fun when he’s on the ground.
In one particular contest, Williams spent his time on the floor pumping his chest for his teammates, and when he emptied a buzzer-beater, he stoically stepped on the floor as the entire gym flocked to him in jubilation. .
It’s just who he is.
How Williams fits into Kenny Payne’s system
Williams isn’t the prototypical Kenny Payne rookie when it comes to the game as a track meet, but he does have a Kenny Payne rookie engine.
Williams does not remove games. He’s a tone setter, bringing a kind of angry energy into his style. In short, the kid is playing with an average streak.
Payne will likely opt to execute a defensive-to-offensive physical style, which bodes well for Williams, who enjoys contact situations at both ends of the court.
For Louisville fans, the most exciting aspect of his game will be his pace on the open court. Williams is a rolling stone who drools for space.
If a defender chooses to accompany him down the lane, there may be a penalty at the other end. Williams, also currently a wide receiver for his high school football team, is a bulky forward with surprising bursts of speed to pair with his physique.
Make no mistake, if you look at his list of offers (Florida State, Alabama, Providence and Xavier), it’s clear that Williams wants to get involved in a style where he can play with complete freedom.
It’s a great choice for Kenny Payne and Louisville.
Ratings and tape
From Jeff Rabjohns of 247Sports this spring:
“(Williams) made multiple 3s on the rebound, also hit an elbow jumper on the rebound in his opener on Friday. I continued to take photos throughout the weekend. Already has strength in its frame. Used his shoulders very well on drives, both to clear space and create contact. He made three 3s in the first half of Sunday’s semi-final game, finishing with four 3s, including a four-point play when he was fouled on a pull-up dribble 3 near the top of the key. Does he sometimes have funky side spins on his three-point shots.
From 247Sports’ Adam Finkelstein this weekend:
“Kenny Payne is putting himself in a position to build a solid class with or without the Camden duo. He already has a pledge of Kaleb Glennwho takes office this weekend alongside curtis williams, which has an announcement scheduled for Monday afternoon on 247Sports. If all goes to plan, Payne will have solidified an interchangeable front tandem…”
Williams on his own game:
“I can really shoot the ball, but apart from shooting I can do everything else. I can rebound, guard your best player, steal, and do whatever you need me to.