Scouting Amir Williams vs. Pioneer & Southeastern with Video


[Ed: Calvin made the trip to see Amir Williams versus Ann Arbor Pioneer and Detroit Southeastern over the weekend and came back with not only a scouting report but film from both games. The 6’10” big man is just returning from injury but he played well in both games. Other recruiting videos live here. ]

When I saw Jon Horford play against Jackson, I saw a kid who was still growing into his body and probably wasn’t even done growing.  He was a smart player, but provided few if any awe-inspiring moments.  Basically, I saw a prospect.

In Amir Williams, we have the opposite.  While both players are 6-9, Williams, despite being a year younger, carries it better. He’s significantly bigger than Horford with wider shoulders and is much more comfortable banging in the paint. He can physically dominate almost anyone guarding him. Basically, Horford is a prospect, while Williams is much more of a finished product. This is also a big reason why Williams is getting more attention from recruiting services and other schools, including Arizona, Michigan State, Wake Forest, Ohio State, and Florida among numerous others. In a recent interview Williams actually listed 28 schools, so it’s clear that he has a ways to go before making a college decision.

You can take this for what it’s worth–would you rather have a player like Horford, whose ceiling nobody really knows, or Williams, who is more what you see is what you get?  One important note: Williams, before his game against Pioneer on Friday, hadn’t played in a game since January 8th due to a sprained knee.  So he was definitely more than a little rusty.  Even so, he managed to put up 15-6-4 in a lopsided victory.

Williams came off the bench and made an immediate impact.  While he only had four blocks, he was usually in pretty good position defensively and altered a lot more.  He did a good job of avoiding fouls, though he could have been more aggressive.

Offensively, like I said above, he seemed rusty.  His touch around the rim wasn’t great, and his drop step at times looked a little slow.  He was able to get himself in good position for rebounds.  Overall though, there just wasn’t much variety to what he was doing.  His hook shot is a little wild.  A lot of that can be chalked up to being a junior.  While he’s more of a finished product than Horford, he still has a lot of work to do on the offensive end.  Think an extremely poor man’s rookie year Dwight Howard.  A plus?  He was knocking down free throws left and right.

The second game I went to, Southeastern at DCD, was a tad more illuminating.  He had a game under his belt after the injury, and he looked a lot more comfortable.  His baby hook was more controlled and reliable and his touch around the basket was more consistent. Williams finished unofficially with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and at least 5 or 6 blocks.

Defensively, he was dominant.  Southeastern attacked him more, which explains some of that, but he protected the basket really well.  He moves pretty well on defense.  He had a great stretch in the third quarter in which he stopped everything and was impossible to stop himself.  When he gets in a zone, there might not be anyone in the state who can get in his way.  I think he’ll be able to extend his stays in that zone as he matures.

There’s a difference between being smart and well-coached.  I would classify Horford as a smart player and Williams as well-coached.  Williams knows where to be on defense, he knows what cuts his teammates will make and he knows how to hit them because he’s done it a million times in practice.  Plus his coach, DCD’s Kurt Keener, has won eight State championships and has coached Chris Webber and Shane Battier.  It seems to me that Horford might have a slightly higher basketball IQ.  The plays he makes, especially the passes, are made simply because he knows the way the game works and he has a knack for it.  I know this is almost impossible to determine with any certainty, but it’s just something I see watching them both.

That being said, whoever lands Williams is going to get a heck of a player.  We still don’t know if he’s done growing.  He can leap, he’s quick and he has pretty good hands.  His offensive game can be molded essentially from scratch. Defensively, he will always be a threat. Basically, he will be an immediate contributor just because of his size and athleticism coupled with the presence he can provide in the post. And that’s awesome.

Also playing for Southeastern was junior Michigan State commit Brandan Kearney.  He got into foul trouble early, which limited him the rest of the game.  He managed to score 10 points in the first half but was pretty ineffective in the second half, when DCD started steamrolling his squad.

It will be interesting to see how Ray McCallum’s absence next year will affect Williams’ game.  My hunch says if anything it will improve his stats because he’ll become the focal point of the offense, but his points will be harder to come by because he won’t have a world-class point guard giving him the ball right where he likes it anymore.

  • Tweeter

    these vids actually make me feel even more comfortable with Horford. Considering how far apart these two are in rankings, I think I came away more impressed with Horford’s offensive game. Obviously he is a year older and Williams was coming off an injury, but Horford seems much more refined and even explosive with ball when he has his back to the basket.

    Athletically, I thought they would look further apart as well. But really I would just say that Williams is a little more fluid in moving his 6’9 body than Horford is. But from the videos its tough to say one is more athletic than the other. I would definitely give the nod to Williams on the defensive side of things. As Calvin pointed out he was in good position and really attacked the ball well.

    Maybe another year will help Williams to learn to use his body a little better. It seemed like most of his moves were based off out-athleting guys or shooting over them, instead of moving them out of the way. That was what impressed me about Horford, is that he was very comfortable getting into defenders bodies and carving out space. Amir needs to figure that out.

  • andrew

    ive been to multiple country day games this year and my opinion of Amir changes. the first game i thought he needed to get stronger and he felt bored. Game 2 he dominated ran the floor well and did everything to be a top recuit. I really wish country day played northland. amir would of gave it all he had and you could see how he does against the best post player in the country.

  • KDavis

    I’m currently adding “out-athleting” to my vocabulary so that I can celebrate it on a daily basis. Thank you, Tweeter.

  • Also, watching the film of the DCD/Southeastern game. Percy Gibson did very little for me, don’t know how Rivals has him in the top 150.

  • intrpdtrvlr

    As one of my professors likes to say, Gibson doesn’t appear to be “anybody’s favorite.” Sounds like MSU was pretty up front with BK that Gibson would probably not be part of the deal.

  • JB

    wow. you can’t teach size. i think horford looks a better.

  • mitch

    I was at the game last night as well and was impressed with Williams. I’ve seen him about 5 times and this was by far the best he has looked. Gibson looked lost, and Kearny looked pretty smooth, but looks real skinny. I have to say that McCallum is the most polished High School kid I’ve seen, maybe ever. How come we can’t get a good look from him?

  • Old Style

    Hopefully we can add both these kids to the squad but I’m more excited for Horford at this point. Amir blocked a lot of shots but looked like he had no interest in rebounding. Maybe the injury was affecting his game but I think a high school big man should pull down more than 6 or 7 rebounds a game.

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    My bet is a player like Amir just gets sick of opposing teams hacking him to death. That’s why guys like him can look lackadaisical in the post at times. High school school refs usually let smaller guys get away with pretty physical play against a guy Williams’ size.

    Wait ’til he gets to college. He’ll step up the intensity. Especially when the refs are letting Wisconsin or MSU hack him to death…

  • JayRich

    I personally would take Williams. He is a year younger and a lot stronger. He is more aggressive yet still has some finesse to his game. He still has a lot of room to improve, especially holding on to the ball in traffic but that kid is going to be a great center when he gets to the NCAA….hopefully in AA

  • Tweeter

    JayRich I think ideally we would want to get Horford and Ziegler this year, then next year add Williams as well or Plumlee.

    That would really put the team in good shape, as you would have two true centers, another 4/5 mix in Morgan, some versatile 3/4 type players with Smotrycz and McLimans, a good mix at the three with Novak, Ziegler, and the aforementioned, and a backcourt with Morris, Douglass, LLP, Hardaway and Brundidge.

    There would be solid senior leaders, a guy in his third year at the point and a lot of young talent. That team sounds terrific. Please let it be so.

  • fresh

    anybody in america would take williams hes a top 50 recruit thats a no brainer

  • AG2

    The real question in my mind is what does Michigan offer compared to the other schools. It would be nice to see Beilein get guys tho explicitly choose us over, say, MSU.

  • Tweeter – You are right on. If we want to compete against the MSU, OSU and PU we need Zeigler and Horford this year and Williams the next. This would set us well on our way as a top team and would confirm that Beilein can recruit.

    We need to keep Michigan talent within the state.

  • Old Style

    AG2, I think Morris is the only player that fits that profile. Although it wasn’t MSU, UCLA and Arizona were some of the teams that Morris passed on to come to AA.

  • Conrad

    give me both…god knows we can’t have enough big guys

  • Sid

    Williams’ best skills at the moment appear to be his passing and court awareness. Give him another year to grow into his body and his advances on the basket probably won’t look so clumsy.

  • mark

    I think it is insulting to all the real coaches out there to say DCD is well coached. History shows his player (especially the bigs) barely scratch the service of what they could be. Keener wins because they recruit better than any school in the state including MSU. Now that my Keener rant is over. Ever since their freshmen the two instate players I’ve wanted at U of M have been 1a. Amir and 1b. Brundridge. We’ve got one and it would be great to get the other. I think it is a pipe dream that Amir ends up at U of M I can wish. I figure there is about a 85% chance he ends up out of state.

  • fresh

    him and brundidge are very good friends not to mention he has played with jordan dumars for many years as well……….he has visited many times……..the chances are way better than 15% that michigan gets him

  • mark

    He hasn’t visited that much. Infact it was a struggle just to get him on campus. CB and Amir are friends based on playing for the family AAU team. Trust me Amir odds are he will be playing bb out of state for college.

  • Paul

    I too was at the DCD/Southeastern game. Percy Gibson looked horrible! How he’s a top 150 recruit is beyond me. Ray McCallum looked incredibly fast, explosive and made some great passes! He also was sinking all his 3’s in warm up’s. He didn’t take any in the game that I can remember. Kearney (MSU recruit) looked extremely athletic but didn’t do too much in the game and had to sit out for awhile for arguing a call and getting T’ed up to pick up his 2nd foul pretty early in the 1st half. Amir did look lazy and was playing too far off his guy – letting the other guy catch the ball way too easily down low in the post and relying on his blocking the shot instead (he picked up a foul or 2 this way against 6’4 guys – he can’t do this in college). Amir also didn’t appear to have great hands on rebounds and wasn’t taking the ball up very strong other than the 1 all alone dunk he had.

  • Paul

    BTW – it was good to see John Beilein in the stands for the DCD/Southeastern game. Hopefully he was there to woo McCallum (mainly), and both Kearney and Amir too (despite their limitations they are only HS Jr’s and will probably be excellent college players). IMHO – the thing limiting Kearney in HS is that his team’s game plan is too slow and methodical to take advantage of his open floor athletic talents.

  • Paul

    Amir Williams will average 3-5+ blocks per game in the Big 10

  • High school scout

    Remember this there is a point guard over at Southfield high who wore number 12 for there JV Team name Jordan Ellis is a diamond in the ruff… He would be a great fill in next year with admir,, He can shoot great range mid range..can get to the hoop and loves to deliver the ball,,,, can take over a game ..his freshman and sophmore yr has score over 600 points over 250 assist…has hit over 75 threes in two yrs….coach teasley this might be the guy to help u get back to the finals,,,,with Carlton and pee barns along with Jordan Ellis Southfield can be real tuff to beat,,,,

  • mike jones

    I did get a chance to see him…an should have been playing varsity…this guard gets to the rim ..great hang time and can see the floor real well…Look him up on youtube Jordan Ellis BBall Mix

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