Arkansas hoops target Williams having banner AAU season

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Monday, July 8, 2019
Jaylin Williams of Fort Smith Northside goes up for a shot during an AAU game Friday, April 12, 2019, at Bulldog Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Jaylin Williams of Fort Smith Northside goes up for a shot during an AAU game Friday, April 12, 2019, at Bulldog Arena in Fayetteville.

— It should come as no surprise that Fort Smith Northside center and Arkansas 2020 recruiting target Jaylin Williams has blown up this spring and summer after getting more national exposure.

That was the goal when Williams (6-10, 220 pounds) chose to join the Woodz Elite 17-and-under AAU squad for the Nike EYBL circuit this year. It has resulted in several additional offers and a jump into the top 100 players nationally.

“Finally seeing the work that I’ve been putting in paying off is great,” Williams said. “I’ve always known that I could do these things, but I’ve needed a bigger platform to show what I can do. But it isn’t over yet and I’m not satisfied.”

Williams, who took an unofficial visit to Arkansas in late June to visit new Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman and his staff, will begin play Wednesday at the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C.

The team, which also features another Arkansas 2020 recruiting target in West Memphis power forward Chris Moore (6-7, 220), is 11-3 in EYBL play this year and will meet AOT on Wednesday to open pool play.

They will follow that up with a Thursday morning game against ProSkills, which features Bryant guard Khalen Robinson, a 2020 prospect who recently added offers from Arkansas and Kansas.

“What I think makes our team so good is how good our chemistry is and how hard we play as a team,” Williams said. “Our team doesn’t have five stars or main players, so it makes it good that you never know who on our team will have a good game because everyone is capable of it.

“For us to win Peach Jam, we are going to have play good as a team and make sure we limit our mistakes.”

Williams, who led Northside to the Class 6A state title as a junior, is averaging 11.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks during the EYBL season. He is shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from 3-point range.

He had offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma State Tulsa, Lamar and TCU entering the EYBL season and has added offers from Auburn, Texas A&M, Iowa State, UConn, Illinois and Nebraska since it started.

Williams, who is ranked 89th in 247 Sports' composite rankings, has also drawn some attention from North Carolina and Duke.

He has taken an official visit to Oklahoma State and an unofficial visit to Arkansas, which gave him a chance to be around Musselman and assistants Corey Williams, Chris Crutchfield and Clay Mosier.

“I like Arkansas staff,” Williams said. “I think it is good that Coach Musselman knows what it takes to get to the league.”

Musselman is a former NBA head coach with Golden State and Sacramento and is an advocate of position-less basketball and that appeals to Williams, who averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks as a junior at Northside.

“He basically said that he likes that I am big and can move,” Williams said. “Also that I can hit the outside shot and defend.”

Williams will look at setting up additional official visits once his AAU season is finished. Arkansas and Auburn are expected to be among his visits.

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