VCU Commit Jonathan Williams Leads Team Loaded NC

Jonathan Williams doesn’t shy away from the big stage.

A standout point guard for national powerhouse St. Benedict’s (N.J.), the VCU commit has played in events all over the country and routinely goes toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s top point guards.

This weekend, Williams is looking to bring some of that big-game experience to the Philly Jam Fest and help lead a talented Team Loaded (N.C.) to a 17U championship.

After a comfortable Team Loaded win over Dejuan Blair All-Stars (Pa.) on Friday night, Williams made it clear that the team’s goal was to leave Philadelphia with a title despite a new-look roster that is just beginning to jell.

“[Our first game] was a warm-up game,” the 6-foot Class of 2014 point guard explained.

“We’ve got a couple new people on our team so we had to get ready and work out some stuff.”

While the squad is fairly new to each other, there is no shortage of talent whatsoever.

N.C. State bound twins Caleb and Cody Martin (2014/Davie County HS), both considered top 50 prospects nationally, lead the charge of big-name players on the roster. Top 100 guard JaQuel Richmond (2014/Wesleyan Christian) forms a dangerous backcourt partnership with Williams, and 6-foot-8 forward Zane Waterman (2014/Fayetteville Academy) causes major matchup problems with his height and versatility. On top of a deep roster full of athletic guards and wings, twin towers Ikeena Smart (2014/New Garden Friends School) and Donte Demangia (2014/Queen City Prep) are both major factors inside at 6-foot-10.

Williams thinks of himself as an “up-tempo, pass-first point guard” and certainly lived up to his own expectations on Friday night. He was urging teammates to get out in transition while looking to feed the post and move the ball quickly in the halfcourt setting.

Also a strong defender who clogs passing lanes, Williams seems a natural fit for VCU and the “Havoc” system run by head coach Shaka Smart.

“I like the style of play [at VCU],” Williams remarked, “…and the intensity in practices.”

A Richmond, Va. native, Williams also cherished the chance to play for his hometown school as the Rams continue to move into the upper echelon of college basketball.

But before Williams can move onto VCU, he still has another year of high school to complete, and expectations are high at St. Benedict’s after a disappointing close to the 2012-13 season.

“We blew the [ESPN NHSI Championship in April] which was upsetting. We worked all year for it and let it slip away.”

“But we’ll be back next year,” Williams stated emphatically.

The Gray Bees play a national schedule and Williams enjoys the opportunity to travel across the country and play against some of the world’s most talented players.

“You see different places [while traveling] and play high-caliber talent. You have to stay on your A-game.”

Williams has also had the chance to learn a bit from Kevin Boyle, the former head coach at St. Benedict’s (now at Montverde Academy in Florida).

Williams said that Boyle–who has developed a reputation of developing point guards and runs a specialized point guard camp with Hoop Group–preached a simple philosophy about work rate.

“He wanted me to play with enthusiasm,” Williams explained.

“He always used to say ‘You can only control your defense, you can’t control your offense.'”

And whether it will mainly be his defense defense or offense (or both), Williams will be sure to bring it in every game of the Philly Jam Fest as Team Loaded looks to take home a championship from one of the spring “live” period’s biggest events.
Follow Edgar Walker on Twitter: @Edgar_Walker

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